The Daily Heller: Teaching Young Kids to Read, Adults to Look and Teens to Stare

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Heads and Tails (aka Glava I Rep, Cabeza y Cola, etc.) by Mirko Ilíc is a surreal mix n’ match book that encourages interaction between adults and young children. By flipping the pages, the reader and young viewer transform familiar animal bodies into amusingly grafted together creatures in more than a hundred combinations, while also learning their respective names in six languages—Croatian, English, Spanish, German, French and Italian.

Ilíc explains that he wanted to create a book that’s interesting to kids while avoiding special effects, including die-cuts and foldouts. “That way, the price of the book stays low,” he says.

He also chose to draw his animals in a more realistic style than the usual simplified approach commonly used for his preschool audience.

“That way,” he says, “slightly older kids will enjoy flipping through the book”—and perhaps much older kids, in a certain state, will stare at the unique mutations for hours on end.