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Book: Peck, Slither, and Slide
Author and Illustrator: Suse MacDonald
Publisher: Scholastic, republished in 1998
ISBN-13: 978-0152000790 (library binding)
ISBN-10: 0152000798 (library binding)
ISBN-13: 978-0590916370 (paperback)
ISBN-10: 0590916378 (paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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MacDonald, Suse. Peck, Slither, and Slide (published in 1997 by Gulliver Books; republished in 1998 by Scholastic). This colorful picture-puzzle book is one of hidden-animal guessing games which introduces animals in motion. Each opening provides pictorial clues to an animal’s identity, like an elephant’s trunk or a flamingo’s stiltlike legs, along with a verb that might be associated with that creature’s behavior, such as “build” for a beaver, and “slither” for a snake. In design and typography, the verbs imitate the actions they depict. For example, the word “slide” is shown sliding down an iceberg, and the word “wade” appears in a large, expressive typeface, with the letters forming part of the picture and the water rippling around them.
MacDonald’s acrylic painted tissue paper collage illustrations are nicely textured and distinctive with great visual appeal. Woodpeckers peck and walruses climb. The last four pages of the book have small pictures of the animals with informative paragraphs about their appearances, habits, and habitats. The pleasure for the very young in an interactive picture book like this, which we checked out of the library when our younger son Jeremy was learning to read, is in the excitement of prediction and recognition, so the striking pictures will draw their attention and the guessing game will add to the book’s appeal for reading aloud.