Whose Eyes Are These? asks that very question on a big white page, across from which looms a striking pair of abstract eyes. Turning the page reveals a short, off-beat description of the animal behind the eyes, as well as a wonderfully rendered illustration of the animal itself, the pictures as quirky as the preceding prose. Another turn places the animal hiding (sometimes too well) in his environment. Lemurs, jellyfish, hedgehogs and hummingbirds are all covered in this beautiful, large-scale book.
While the physical size of the book and the layout of the contents with its question/reveal/find-the-animal format is perfect for an adult to read to a small child at bedtime, some may be a little concerned that some of the language used may float over the child’s head. Words such as ‘carnivorous’, ‘obedient’, ‘precious nectar’ and ‘vex’ might seem somewhat archaic or obscure for a three-year-old, and may have become lost in translation from the original French – both the author and the illustrator are based in Paris – but in my view the prose has a slightly hypnotic, somnolent quality that will help send the child off nicely on his or her merry way to slumberland, as well as managing the neat trick of enlarging their vocabulary as they go.