Bound To Stay Bound

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 Look! what do you see? : an art puzzle book of American & Chinese songs
 Author: Xu, Bing

 Illustrator: Stadtlander, Becca

 Publisher:  Viking
 Pub Year: 2017

 Dewey: 793.73
 Classification: Nonfiction
 Physical Description: 38 p., col. ill., 30 cm

 BTSB No: 120148 ISBN: 9780451473776
 Ages: 7-10 Grades: 2-5

 Subjects:
 Picture puzzles
 Visual perception
 Word games
 Ciphers -- Songs and music

Price: $21.41

Summary:
Seventeen traditional American and Chinese songs are written in artist Xu Bing's signature square word calligraphy.


Reviews:
   Kirkus Reviews (09/01/17)
   School Library Journal (09/01/17)
   Booklist (11/01/17)

Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 09/01/2017 Gr 3–6—In 1994, Bing invented Square Word Calligraphy, a "secret code" that looks a lot like Chinese calligraphy. This volume presents the lyrics to 17 songs in that code, accompanied by Stadtlander's beautiful watercolor illustrations. The first dozen are common U.S. folk songs (including "Camptown Ladies," "Yankee Doodle Came to Town," and "Skip to My Lou") and the final five are common Chinese folk songs (including "Tiger Learns to Climb" and "The Snail and the Yellow Birds"). Readers are encouraged to look closely to decipher the text. Starting with the songs they know, students can then crack the ingenious code to read the lyrics to the songs they don't. The back matter contains instructions on writing Square Word Calligraphy as well as all the lyrics to the songs, in case there was a word readers were unable to decipher. While the method of guessing the song based on the picture and then working backward to crack the code is a fun twist, it also makes the book harder to categorize in a library collection, and students may skip over it. The visual look of the code (which is in English, written with stylized letters arranged in a square in a manner that visually borrows heavily from traditional Chinese calligraphy) is significantly different enough from most other English-based codes that cypher fans should be very intrigued and eager to try it for themselves. VERDICT A fun coded puzzle for readers to spend time analyzing, but it may need some handselling for kids to pick up.—Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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