"Come along! Jump aboard! Grab hold of my hand. / We're crossing the border into Look-Alike Land." So invites the opening lines of Joan Steiner's Look-Alikes, a three-dimensional miniature metropolis that's meticulously, ingeniously crafted out of everyday objects from mousetraps to milk bones. At first glance, a fancy hotel lobby seems just that, but take a closer look and you'll see a sofa made of gloves. In a sunny street scene, a building façade is laden with crackers, crayons form fence posts, and the tree is shaded by a stalk of broccoli. Children and adults alike will love poring over each picture, most of which contain more than 100 objects cleverly arranged to delight and deceive. Kids will easily identify many household objects, and the ones they may not recognize--a hosiery garter or flour sifter, for example--they'll learn from either the guide in the back or from a helpful parent. Good humor, a keen eye, and hours of hard work went into this visual marvel, which should be equally captivating for artists and I Spy fans. (Ages 5 to 105) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
In this dazzling debut, first-time picture book author/artist Steiner employs clever visual puns to create a whimsical parallel world. Using found objects, she painstakingly assembles three-dimensional collages that re-create everyday scenes, then photographs the results. What ensues is a tour de force of trompe l'oeil. Pistachio nuts on stems form a bouquet of "tulips" in a hotel lobby scene, where a tiny guest sits cozily on a "couch" made from a pair of cupped gloves. A city skyline reveals a modern skyscraper composed of a stack of CDs; two doors down a cowbell perched atop a vintage cookbook mimics the architecture of an earlier era. Dog biscuits laid end-to-end form the brick-like facade of yet another building, while at a park, a shoehorn "slide" and a sandbox made from an inverted tambourine abut a "water fountain" that's really a shell perched atop a chess piece. In this world where nothing is quite what it seems, slices of bread pave a sidewalk; infant pacifiers double as gaslights; pretzels affixed to round crackers become chairs at an old-fashioned soda fountain. Readers will pore over the enchanting visual similes, nearly 100 in each scene, in their attempts to detect each one. There's even a key at the end that offers a complete list of the look-alikes, to ensure none are overlooked. The amount of work that went into each tableau is staggering; the end result sheer delight. Bursting with creativity, this work of visual genius will set imaginations soaring. All ages.
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