Review of the Week: Steve Light’s “Swap!”


Light, Steve. Swap!  Steve Light, Illus. Picture Book. Candlewick, 02/2016. [34]pp. $16.99. 978-0-7636-7990-3. OUTSTANDING. GRADES PRE-2.

Gorgeous hand-drawn illustrations depict a set of trades, starting with a coat button and two teacups, to gather materials to refurbish a rundown ship. “Two teacups for three coils of rope. Swap ! Two coils of rope for six oars. Swap !” Detailed illustrations using a fountain pen with nib, then hand-colored using inks and blue gouache on paper will be devoured by the observant child. The sea, ship captain, his friend, and a monkey appearing throughout, as well as the objects traded are in color while everything else is illustrated in b&w. Readers will have fun seeing how new owners use the traded objects: oars are used to hang flags; a flag is used as a smock; anchors are used to hold spools of thread, etc. The level of detail will only be fully appreciated during a lap read. Front endpapers depict a map and back endpapers depict the same map with a route of all the trades.

Dayni Kuo, Oakland PL

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