Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Before & After

Before & After

Jean Jullien
Board Book
For infants to children age 4
Phaidon Press, 2017   ISBN: 978-0714874081

People of all ages are drawn to before and after photos and videos. There is something very attractive about seeing how something changes over time. For children, time is often a concept that is a little elusive. How long is “soon” and when will “soon” become “now?”

In this clever little boar d book, Jean Jullien gives us a series of before and after pictures that are intriguing and often amusing. We cannot always be sure what the after  picture is going to look like.

For example, early on in the book we see a picture of a grumpy looking cat that is washing its decidedly messy grey and white fur. What is the after picture going show? Will the cat be tidy? Will it be cheerful? When we turn the page we see that the grumpy and very untidy looking cat has turned into a sleek white beast that is looking decidedly pleased with itself.

Next we are presented with a page showing some yellow stick-like objects. What are they? When we turn the page we realize that we were looking at pieces of raw spaghetti which have now been transformed into a plate of cooked spaghetti, complete with tomato sauce and meatballs.

Some of the before and after pairs presented in this book offer up a few surprises that will keep young readers engaged and interested. You may think that you know what is going to come next, but there is a chance that you will be wrong!