What Do You See?
by Linda Cassella

"Mr. Elephant, Mr. Elephant,
What Do You See?"

In this picture book for preschoolers, a mother eagle is seeking something or someone. She asks all of the animals that she sees, "What do you see?" Some of them—including elephants, a bear, and a polar bear—tell her what they have been doing, but no one replies with the answer that she wants. The drama in the repeated question continues throughout the story, with intrigue building each time the anxious eagle asks the question. The text of the story emphasizes the repetition and is reminiscent of some of the "Baba Yaga" tales, as well as those of Dr. Seuss. The question is posed exactly the same way and structured on the page identically for each animal or group of animals. The repeating pattern will likely lead young children to have fun anticipating and saying the line with the main character.

An obvious strength in the book is the radiant artwork. The author created forty acrylic paintings during the pandemic, and Cassella's talent is evident in the beautiful, realistic illustrations. Cassella, who is an advocate of "early learning through reading," conceived of the idea for the story to entertain her grandson. She credits his intellectual authorship of the story, and the book is also dedicated to him. With its variety of animals, charming pictures, and age-appropriate writing, there is much here to delight young readers. The ultimate resolution and its illustration will undoubtedly make readers of almost any age smile. This pandemic-inspired creation is one of hope and fulfillment.

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