Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Giveaway! Salina Yoon's Kaleidoscope

To win a copy of Kaleidoscope, leave a comment below by Sunday, May 20. Three commenters will receive a copy!  Please include an email address so I can reach you.
Created by Salina Yoon
$12.99, ages 3 and up, 18 pages

Artist Salina Yoon pays tribute to mirrors, angles and ordinary objects in this charming, interactive book.

Readers fold out the cover and look through a clear plastic lens to see swirling, symmetrical designs reminiscent of those seen through a toy kaleidoscope.

The lens looks something like a flattened crystal with multiple flat faces and angles, while the designs mimic those made by loose objects in the optical toy.

One design leads to another over eight diecuts -- each inspired by circular objects that mark a change in seasons. Among them, a snowflake, pinwheel and steaming pie.

As readers view the book, a poem whisks them along. "Raindrops plopping, / splashing, splashing! / Skipping, turning, / Children dashing," the book begins near an open umbrella.

To simulate the effect of turning or shaking a kaleidoscope, readers rotate a tab on the cover, which in turn, turns the 2-inch lens. The result is a constantly changing set of colors and patterns on the page.

But watch out, because looking at the pages is only the beginning of the fun. Once your child realizes they can aim the cover lens at anything, they'll be wandering around the backyard with a book over the face.

From my computer looking out through our backyard sliding glass door, I discovered our patio, bushes and grill formed a nifty pattern spinning around my eye.

Yoon's book is sure to get readers clamoring for their own cardboard kaleidoscope as well. The optical tube, like the spirograph and pinwheel, still mesmerizes us with its clever mechanics and simple beauty.

In the actual toy, children look through a spyglass containing mirrors and a jumble of beads, glass or pebbles. When the tube is rotated or rattled, the objects tumble into patterns.

What makes the tube of mirrors so enchanting is that every crystalized pattern is arbitrary, fleeting and symmetrical.

One musician described the toy as "a tool that helps make sense of the mess," and indeed any grab bag of things can become an intricate, pleasing design.

Even a child's messy room? Now wouldn't that be something.

Here Yoon blurs the line between book and toy to marvelous effect, while paying homage to an old-school toy that still holds ground in a high-tech world.

This is a book for children who like to play with color and are dazzled by geometric designs. With 4th of July coming up, who knows? Your child might just aim the cover toward the sky.

The kaleidoscope, named for Greek words meaning "beautiful form to see," was invented in 1816 by Sir David Brewster as a way for artists to study designs, but quickly evolved into children's toy.

For directions on how to make a kaleidoscope, click here.


  1. I could really use this on an upcoming plane ride -- for the kids, of course.

  2. This book looks wonderful :) Hope I win!

  3. This is awesome. One of our quilts that we are making at the quilting retreat this weekend is a kaleidoscope quilt. jsymalla2000@yahoo.com

  4. This looks like a wonderful book.

  5. Oh, what an awesome book! My first graders would LOVE this book. zimmereliz@yahoo.com

  6. an awesome and fascinating book hope I could grab one of those I would also love to have this but don't know if the contest is already over ... Blogging Profits Unleashed