Ready for a guessing game? Heads and Tails gives readers clues, plus a rendering of an animal’s hindquarters, to help them figure it out. Every spread offers a watercolor rendering of an animal’s rear end, with three typewriter-font clues (emphasized with color), to help them guess. On the following page, the animal’s front end is revealed! The clues are descriptive: “I have long furry ears and a small nose. I live in a burrow in the ground. I have a white fluffy tail. I am a…” The reveal and the “I am a…” phrase is set in a handwritten, large black font, making this a good storytime read that clues kids in and follow along. The artwork is done is subdued watercolors, and all illustrations are adapated from 19th-century artwork. The tails are more opaque, less detailed, than the heads, almost like a fade-in to the animal reveal. There are two curve balls thrown in, which left my first grader and I scratching our heads, but it seems like it was a chance to draw out the mystery. The final mystery guest is the reader himself or herself: “I love to play. I learn new things every day. I am growing. I am… ME!”
This one’s a nice choice for toddler storytimes; there are few words, short sentences, and the chance to let kids call and act out their favorite animals. It’s a nice additional add for the artwork, which is lovely. I’d pair this one with Simms Taback’s fold-out animals books, which provide similar clues and reveal each animal through vertical and horizontal page unfolding. My toddler times love a dramatic reveal! Display with other fun Who-Am-I books, like my old reliable, Katie Davis’ Who Hops?, another guessing game story, albeit with a lot more laughs and a similar reveal at the end. And there’s always Steve Jenkins’ Who Am I?