Ask Me

This very attractive and unusual book is irresistible, both for its design and its content. Measuring just 6 inches square, it is chunky – with 220 pages, yet comfortable to handle both for little people and adults. Each right-hand page has a colourful image, flush to the edge. Each left-hand page has just one question printed in clear, plain type on a monochrome background. For example, the question ‘Have you ever picked fruit off a tree?’ is teamed with a simple marker and crayon drawing of a little girl with cherries hooked over her ears. The questions touch on many different areas of life: likes and dislikes, dreams, family, home, and some philosophical issues. With the question ‘What do you like to smell?’ we see an unclichéd image of a child’s face buried in a basil plant. ‘What animal have you worried about?’ is accompanied by a drawing of a spider dangling over a pot on the cooker. The images, a variety of photos, drawings and collage, will appeal to children of all ages.

This is a lovely book to share; the questions sparking different responses and giving lots of scope for chat. It would be equally valuable for parents at home as for teachers in a nursery school or junior classroom setting. Many of the images will also inspire art activities. Antje Damm is an architect and her artistic skills are evident in the wonderful homemade doll’s furniture – but her creativity is obvious on every page.

This is a book that a 1-year-old will love for the many pictures to be identified as much as a 7-year-old will enjoy making the connections between the questions and the images – and giving their own personal responses. Ask Me is a book that a child might want to keep into teen and adulthood in order to look back fondly on their childhood.