Hide And Seek City

Hide and Seek City is the sophomore book from this French duo and carries along in a similar vein to their last endeavour, The Great Journey. It is everything we have come to expect from a Tate publication: that is to say, it is unexpected. The familiar lift-the-flap format is put into a tailspin by a reoccurring optical illusion that creates a similar hide and reveal effect. At first glance, we are greeted by cityscapes rendered in red; however, with the help of a magical magnifying glass (that is included in the insert of the book), we are able to peer straight through the walls of the buildings and see what scenes are unfolding underneath! This visual novelty is the sterling quality of the book.

That said, Hide and Seek City is far more focused on creating an engaging viewing experience than it is with establishing a structured sense of narrative. We meet many inhabitants of the city, but they are featured as fleeting vignettes rather than the cast of an overarching storyline. Take, for example, Mr Smith who is busy buying a hat for his delightful dalmatian—he is featured in a single spread but is sadly never heard from again.

In an educational setting, I think that the book would do well in encouraging reluctant readers to poke their noses between the covers. However, I do feel like there was a missed opportunity to ramp up the interplay between text and image: perhaps the story could have situated the reader as a detective who had to hunt down clues via the magnifying glass? In any case, parents/educators can step in and devise this kind of challenge themselves. Trench coats at the ready!