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Eye Spy

Eye Spy: Wild Ways Animals See the World

Guillaume Duprat
What on Earth Books
36 pp
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The table in my hallway is blue. My son swears it’s green. My nephew says it’s brown. Vision helps us interpret the world around us, but what if we each see the same thing differently? Eye Spy, a child’s lift-the-flap book, gives readers a glimpse into the lives of animals whose views of the world are even more divergent than my family’s.

The woodcock has eyes on the sides of its head that deliver a full-circle view. The chameleon, disorienting to look at, has an equally disorienting view of its own world, with eyes that can work together or roll around independently, as needed. The book is filled with fun facts and relates field of view, color perception, and sharpness of focus to an animal’s place in the pecking order: predator, prey, vegetarian, frugivore. The lift-the-flap approach brings an element of surprise for a child looking through the eyes of the animals drawn on the page, although the detailed factual summaries inside the flaps might require a bit of adult interpretation for the younger child.

In the end, I was reassured to learn that my perpetual nearsightedness, although perhaps not normal for humans, is how most chimpanzees see the world. (Maybe that’s why I like fruit so much?)

About the author

The reviewer is a senior editor at Science.