- Look at This!: Home by Ifeoma Onyefulu, and: Look at This!: Play by Ifeoma Onyefulu
For this series, Nigerian author and photographer Onyefulu takes her camera to Mali to provide a simple visual landscape of everyday things in West Africa for the youngest audiences. In each book, a framed photograph with large text describing the object or activity faces a full-page photograph that shows it in action. The photographs are neatly composed and show careful attention to detail in depicting the word in question, and they also display genuine warmth in their portrayal of the lives of Malian people. Of the two, Home is the stronger title, with its juxtaposition of household staples like stools and cooking pots against photos of their actual use more effective than the photographs in Play, which are often two nearly identical pictures of children playing games like a ay (a game in the Songhai language that involves mirroring one’s opponent) or hopscotch, and which sometimes leave questions as to how the game is actually played. A brief note from the author begins each volume, giving enough cultural background so that adults sharing these simple readalouds can answer the inevitable “why’s” sure to result from flipping through the rich visual compositions, giving these an opportunity to diversify the youngest end of a collection.