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Elliot’s Great Big Lift-the-flap Book

by Andrea Beck

Young fans of Ontario illustrator Andrea Beck’s Elliot Moose will be pleased to find an Elliot story in large format, embellished with lots of flaps to lift and see what’s hidden inside. “Story” is not quite the right word here, although it may be unreasonable to expect much of a narrative in a lift-the-flaps book.

However, readers of this book about Elliot and his stuffed-animal friends may find this tale confusing in places. The opening double spread asks: “Can you find Elliot’s friends?” Since two of the friends are with Elliot, not hidden at all, saying “other friends” would have been clearer. Elliot “found a big box,” but in the picture the box is the same shape and colour as, but smaller than, a box-like room divider, which again adds an element of confusion: which is the box? At several points there is no clear connection between the flap-lifting and what is happening in the story. Nonetheless, the activities of the stuffed animals as they build a shop in the box and sell toys will amuse a toddler, even without the lure of opening the flaps. The flaps are numerous (over 60 in 12 pages) and well constructed so that small fingers can pull them open many times without tearing. Hidden objects, named inside the flaps, include colours, numbers from one to 10, shapes and opposites.