Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Look! Dr. Goodview - Enric Jardí

Summary: Come with me and you'll see some surprising things.  From images that trick you and elements that disappear to invisible colors and even impossible objects, Dr. Goodview investigates a series of optical illusions to put your vision and your brain to the test.  A ton of visual effects that will wow you! (Summary from back of book - Image from - This book was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review)

My Review:  When Look! landed in my mailbox, my first thought was: Oooooh, pretty!  It's a hardback edition with a sturdy, minimalist cover and thick, shiny pages.  I was busy making dinner, so my children snatched it before I had much of a chance to look at it, but I could hear them oohing and ahing from the other room until dinner time.

Look! begins with a little introduction that lets young readers know what to expect -- 'games' that will get them thinking and the likelihood of a few surprises.  It also directs readers to the pocket at the back of the book that contains a few tools that will be needed for three of the activities.  What follows is a series of fascinating optical illusions (around twenty, give or take) and paradoxes that really bend the brain and encourage the reader to look at things in a new way.  The optical illusions come with very little text, except to draw the readers attention to what is happening and point out that the reader's brain is being tricked.  A slightly more in-depth explanation is given in the final pages of the book.

Remember those Magic Eye optical illusions from 1990s -- the pictures you had to stare at and then relax your gaze eyes just so before a hidden image would pop out at you.  Those were my jam and probably the root of my interest in optical illusions. While the illusions in Look! weren't the same as those of my childhood, I still got that same inexpressible sense of wide-eyed wonder while exploring this book.  My favorite optical illusion from the book shows four cubes lined up on a background that is light grey on one side and slowly becomes darker.  While the blocks appear as if they are all different shades of grey, Look! encourages the reader to use an additional cube (from the pocket in the back) and compare it with the cubes on the page.  Sure enough, they are all the same shade!  It's pretty trippy.  My 10-year-old's favorite illusion was a page that held a black dot and a rainbow.  If you stared at the dot for a minute and then looked at another page that held only a dot, you could still see the rainbow.  My 8-year-old daughter loved all the illusions but her favorite part of the book was a paradox (as seen below).  I still can't tell you the answer, but she loved mulling it over.

Look! was a big hit with my kiddos, which is really all that it needs to be to make this mama happy, but since this is a review I feel compelled to give a few small criticisms that will probably only matter to grown-up book freaks like me.  Although the cover is visually appealing, putting a primarily white cover on a book made for children is akin to installing white carpet in a kitchen.  My pristine copy didn't stay smudge-free for long.  Do my kids care?  Not even a little.  Also, the storage pocket at the back of the book was a tight-fitting envelope style and, if you aren't blessed with patience (or a patient child), the tools or pocket could potentially get damaged.  Finally, while my children didn't seem to need an explanation about how each illusions was tricking their adorable little brains, I wasn't satisfied with the explanation at the end.  It's entirely possible that the explanation given was the simplest way to explain optical illusions to a particular age level and that going into greater detail would have just been confusing -- but a woman wants what she wants and I wanted to know a little bit more.

Overall, I think that Look! is a captivating way to engage young minds and a great introduction to the concept of optical illusions.  I would recommend it for anyone who loves optical illusions or simply wants to keep their kiddos engaged elsewhere while they make dinner.

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  No worries in the sex/violence/language department.  However, I wouldn't recommend reading it all in one sitting if you are prone to optical migraines.  Take breaks.

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