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Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion

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This nonfiction picture book explores art, desperation, and one man's incredible idea for saving ships from German torpedoes in World War I. Dazzle camouflage transformed ordinary British and American ships into eye-popping masterpieces. This nonfiction picture book explores art, desperation, and one man's incredible idea for saving ships from German torpedoes in World War I. Dazzle camouflage transformed ordinary British and American ships into eye-popping masterpieces.


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This nonfiction picture book explores art, desperation, and one man's incredible idea for saving ships from German torpedoes in World War I. Dazzle camouflage transformed ordinary British and American ships into eye-popping masterpieces. This nonfiction picture book explores art, desperation, and one man's incredible idea for saving ships from German torpedoes in World War I. Dazzle camouflage transformed ordinary British and American ships into eye-popping masterpieces.

30 review for Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion

  1. 4 out of 5

    Miri

    This book is stunning. The gorgeous cover caught my attention while I was cataloging it, and I had to pause to read through. I can't decide which element of it is the best (that's a lie, it's obviously the spectacular illustrations)—but the subject itself is fascinating, and even the author's and illustrator's notes were more than usually interesting. Chris Barton talks about the process of research, the way it always leads to more questions, the way photographs can omit or obscure facts, and ex This book is stunning. The gorgeous cover caught my attention while I was cataloging it, and I had to pause to read through. I can't decide which element of it is the best (that's a lie, it's obviously the spectacular illustrations)—but the subject itself is fascinating, and even the author's and illustrator's notes were more than usually interesting. Chris Barton talks about the process of research, the way it always leads to more questions, the way photographs can omit or obscure facts, and explains that although many important figures ended up being cut from his story (I'm so curious about Arthur Conan Doyle and Gertrude Stein!) he had to include the fact that it was women who did much of the work. Victo Ngai explores the significance of art, that it's connected to many more parts of life than we often realize, and tells the readers to look closely for a small symbol she includes on every page that represents her Chinese heritage. Though the United States decided (in classic United States fashion) that this technique was a wild success, the British Royal Navy could not actually prove that it had worked at all, and in fact we have no way of knowing. But I love the point Barton makes from this conclusion. Some insisted that at the very least, the sailors on those ships just felt better knowing that something had been tried to keep them from getting torpedoed. That sort of creativity is good for more than just morale. Times change. Technology changes . . . Challenges of all kinds get replaced by new ones. But a willingness to tackle problems by trying the unlikely, the improbable, the seemingly bonkers will always be needed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    What you'll notice first about this book is THIS ILLUSTRATOR. Sophisticated wavy lines weave and undulate like ribbons across the page, mimicking light on water, cloud shadows, and the dazzle patterns that camouflaged British and U.S. ships. Then the story kicks in, and you may be blown away by the audacity of the idea of dazzle. Instead of painting these ships with camouflage that duplicates natural colors and patterns, dazzle ships were high-contrast and largely geometric. Like giant metal caro What you'll notice first about this book is THIS ILLUSTRATOR. Sophisticated wavy lines weave and undulate like ribbons across the page, mimicking light on water, cloud shadows, and the dazzle patterns that camouflaged British and U.S. ships. Then the story kicks in, and you may be blown away by the audacity of the idea of dazzle. Instead of painting these ships with camouflage that duplicates natural colors and patterns, dazzle ships were high-contrast and largely geometric. Like giant metal carousel horses painted by Mondrian. Avant garde drag queens of the sea. And it's only after you've been distracted and dizzied by the art (which, don't let me out of here without performing some kind of obesiance to Victo Ngai - this is her first picture book but her editorial, product, cover, and advertising work http://victo-ngai.com/Work demonstrates a breathtaking breadth of skill. I'm thinking of getting a new tattoo) and charmed by the improbable story of dazzle's inspiration and execution that you notice the writing. So this is our Texas pal Chris Barton, whose zeal for primary research has brought us such original nonfiction as The Day-Glo Brothers and the award-winning Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions. Usually, children's nonfiction builds on or is inspired by nonfiction written for adults. Not here. If you wanted to write a paper about the invention of Day-Glo colors, Chris's book would be one of your best sources. One thing you'll notice in truly true stories - and kids DEFINITELY notice this - is that they don't always follow the expected path. Chris is adept at riding the twists and turns of real stories rather than trying to force them into a happy-ending shape. When he encountered inconclusive evidence as to whether dazzle actually worked, it thwarted his ability to end the book on a predictable high note. "I admit that I was initially flummoxed when I realized that "AND DAZZLE SHIPS WON THE WAR!!!" wasn't going to fly for the conclusion," he told me. Instead, in a passage that echoes the contradictory, mysterious nature of dazzle, he leaves it open-ended. Did dazzle make a difference? Maybe? But the sailors riding these giant floating cans across vast oceans, exposed to the sky and vulnerable to attack from below, must have been comforted by the effort that was taken to hide them in plain sight. More of this review online at unadulterated.us. http://www.unadulterated.us/pink-me/2...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    It's funny, because only a month ago did I get my first hint about WWI ship camouflage from reading "Dead Wake." Here is a nonfiction picture book with much more detail, with unique illustrations by Victo Ngai. Who could have guessed that a successful method of making ships harder to torpedo would be not painting them to blend in, but dazzling the eye with wild designs that made their speed and direction hard to determine? A cool mix of art and technology. Don't miss the author's note and resour It's funny, because only a month ago did I get my first hint about WWI ship camouflage from reading "Dead Wake." Here is a nonfiction picture book with much more detail, with unique illustrations by Victo Ngai. Who could have guessed that a successful method of making ships harder to torpedo would be not painting them to blend in, but dazzling the eye with wild designs that made their speed and direction hard to determine? A cool mix of art and technology. Don't miss the author's note and resources (like this cool blog on human-made camouflage: http://camoupedia.blogspot.com/).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liza Wiemer

    Very interesting, beautiful illustrations, a lot of text, but it's needed. I can see kids interested in history, war, transportation, art, camouflage being fascinated by this story. A great addition to picture books. Excellent for ALL ages. Very interesting, beautiful illustrations, a lot of text, but it's needed. I can see kids interested in history, war, transportation, art, camouflage being fascinated by this story. A great addition to picture books. Excellent for ALL ages.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)

    One of Barton's best. And the illustrations are gorgeous. One of Barton's best. And the illustrations are gorgeous.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michele Knott

    I can't wait to have more time with this amazing book later this summer. Do not miss this book! Yet another picture book that should be used in middle grade classrooms as they learn about this time period. What a fascinating piece of history that would go along with the lecture on the German U-boats. I can't wait to have more time with this amazing book later this summer. Do not miss this book! Yet another picture book that should be used in middle grade classrooms as they learn about this time period. What a fascinating piece of history that would go along with the lecture on the German U-boats.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Maybe I would have liked history classes more if the teachers had included interesting tidbits like these dazzle ships, and the story of the bear that became Winnie-the-Pooh. Instead they trotted out boring details like dates, countries involved, battles fought, etc., making history for me, at least, a dry and dusty subject.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    During World War I, Great Britain wanted to find a way to protect their supply ships from German U-Boats. Norman Wilkinson decided to camouflage ships by painting confusing, or dazzling, designs on them. I especially love Chris Barton's author's note in which he describe how curiosity drives his research process. Recommended for grades 4 - 6. During World War I, Great Britain wanted to find a way to protect their supply ships from German U-Boats. Norman Wilkinson decided to camouflage ships by painting confusing, or dazzling, designs on them. I especially love Chris Barton's author's note in which he describe how curiosity drives his research process. Recommended for grades 4 - 6.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    Visually striking, contextually grounded (other artists and life scientists interested in protective coloring, optical illusions and trompe l'oeil) story of the attempts to torpedo-proof WWI British ships. Visually striking, contextually grounded (other artists and life scientists interested in protective coloring, optical illusions and trompe l'oeil) story of the attempts to torpedo-proof WWI British ships.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Josephine Sorrell

    A quick and informative book about a little known fact of WWI.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    The book I chose for my intermediate non-fictional pick was titled “Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion,” written by Chis Barton and illustrated by Victo Ngai. Social studies and art would be the content-area crossover for this particular non-fiction book. The social studies aspect of the lesson plan could be broken up into history and world geography. Using the history from the book, the teacher can educate the students with questions like: what year did the “Great War” start and The book I chose for my intermediate non-fictional pick was titled “Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion,” written by Chis Barton and illustrated by Victo Ngai. Social studies and art would be the content-area crossover for this particular non-fiction book. The social studies aspect of the lesson plan could be broken up into history and world geography. Using the history from the book, the teacher can educate the students with questions like: what year did the “Great War” start and end; what year did the United States of America join the war effort; and what kind of military technologies did we have during World War I? As for world geography, the teacher would use this book to educate the students with questions like: which counties were involved in World War I and what body of water where the British ships trying to cross to get supplies home? The art section of the content-area crossover would be having the students design their own “Dazzle Ship” on a paper model and then have the students use a pair of binoculars to see if they could figure out which cardinal direction the ship was actually heading. The discussion questions for each of the levels of Bloom's Taxonomy: 1) Creating: From the book we learned that Lieutenant-Commander Norman Wilkinson came up with the “Dazzle Ship” idea; but what alternative ideas would you have suggested to the British Royal Navy to decrease the amount of battle ships and merchant ships that were being torpedoed? 2) Evaluating: In this book, we learned that this camouflage was presented to the British as a “give it a try” strategy. Determine the value of this one type of camouflage discovery? Just how important was this discovery to the British Royal Navy during that particular time in World War I? 3) Analyzing: Having learned from this book what the British “Dazzle Ship” camouflage is, how is the British “Dazzle Ship” camouflage similar to what the United States military uses to camouflage the ground troops that we have in today’s present-day military? 4) Applying: Now that you’ve seen illustrations and an actual photo of a “Dazzle Ship” from this book, how would you describe what the British “Dazzle Ship” camouflage was actually doing to the German sailor’s mind when he was looking through the periscope? 5) Understanding: When reading this book, what did you observe on pages fourteen to fifteen, when Lieutenant-Commander Norman Wilkinson was looking over the water at a battleship that was cruising past him while he was fishing one morning? 6) Remembering: Now that we have just concluded the book, “Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion,” what are some things that you remember in detail from this story? What was happening to the British ships? Why was this an important problem that needed to be fixed? The discussion questions that will be answered from Bloom's Taxonomy: 3) Analyzing: Having learned from this book what the British “Dazzle Ship” camouflage is, how is the British “Dazzle Ship” camouflage similar to what the United States military uses to camouflage the ground troops that we have in today’s present-day military? Answer: The United States military uses this type of camouflage to prevent a soldier’s face from being spotted by face-detection technologies. It uses occlusions to cover certain facial features, which transforms that face into an unrecognizable one. 4) Applying: Now that you’ve seen illustrations and an actual photo of a “Dazzle Ship” from this book, how would you describe what the British “Dazzle Ship” camouflage was actually doing to the German sailor’s mind when he was looking through the periscope? Answer: When the German U-Boat sailor was looking thought the periscope, the British “Dazzle Ship” camouflage was causing a large optical illusion to form within the sailor’s mind. This was happening because of the direction and placement of the vertical lines and swirls that were painted all over the battleship.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    During WWI, the Germans had a real advantage over their enemies, Britain and the United States. They had perfected the use of submarines from which they could launch torpedoes, making their enemies ships literal sitting ducks. Britain was especially desperate to find a solution to the sinking of ships, both military and non-military, since, as an island, they relied on boats to bring them much of what they needed, especially food, and so far, nothing has worked. That is, until Norman Wilkinson, a During WWI, the Germans had a real advantage over their enemies, Britain and the United States. They had perfected the use of submarines from which they could launch torpedoes, making their enemies ships literal sitting ducks. Britain was especially desperate to find a solution to the sinking of ships, both military and non-military, since, as an island, they relied on boats to bring them much of what they needed, especially food, and so far, nothing has worked. That is, until Norman Wilkinson, a lieutenant-commander in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, came up with an unlikely idea - camouflage the ships. But how do you camouflage a huge ship? Wilkinson knew you couldn’t make a ship invisible, but they could be painted so that they confused submarine officers trying to figure out which way and how fast the ship in their sights was traveling. The idea of camouflage was nothing knew, but Wilkinson suggested painting a crazy pattern on one side of a ship and another crazy pattern on the other side. The patterns used were called dazzle and amazingly enough, it seemed to work. Pretty soon, two dozen women artists were creating dazzle patterns that were then applied to ships by painters and artists working together. Did dazzle camouflage save any ships from being torpedoed? The British painted 3,000 ships, the Americans painted 1,000, but in fact, there may have been too many other factors making it hard to determine how effective the dazzle ships really were. In this well-written chronicle about the Dazzle Ships of WWI, readers will be intrigued that such a far-fetched idea was accepted and carried out (even the King of England was dazzled by the ships). Barton’s text is enhanced and supported by Victo Ngai’s dynamic analog and digital media illustrations, which reflect not just the patterns of the dazzle ships but are rendered in the style and colors of the early 20th century, especially the art movement known as cubism. Dazzle Ships is a picture book for older readers is sure to appeal to anyone interested in the history of WWI and no doubt they will find this creative problem solving to a serious problem both fascinating and inspirational. A WWI timeline is included that shows just how dazzle ships fit into the events of the war. And be sure to read the Author’s Note and the Illustrator’s Note for more information. FYI: Author Chris Barton has contributed a very informative guest post at The Lerner Blog in which he writes about why he wrote Dazzle Ships. This book is recommended for readers age 7+ This book was purchased for my personal library

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jenni

    Intermediate: Barton, Chris. (2017). Dazzle ships: World War I and the art of confusion. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press. Possible subject crossover: History Remembering Question: Recall the different colors used to paint the ships. Understanding Question: What was the purpose of painting ships this way? Applying Question: Could this type of ship camouflage work today? Why or why not? Analyzing Question: Explain how the “dazzling” made it difficult to tell what directions the ships were heading. Evalua Intermediate: Barton, Chris. (2017). Dazzle ships: World War I and the art of confusion. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press. Possible subject crossover: History Remembering Question: Recall the different colors used to paint the ships. Understanding Question: What was the purpose of painting ships this way? Applying Question: Could this type of ship camouflage work today? Why or why not? Analyzing Question: Explain how the “dazzling” made it difficult to tell what directions the ships were heading. Evaluating Question: Do you believe it was the way the ships were painted that eventually slowed the torpedoing, or do you agree with some historians who claim it was “convoys and depth charge”? Defend you argument. Creating Question: Design a pattern to be painted on a “dazzle ship” that you think would camouflage it. Why do you think this pattern would work? Two answers: Applying Question: No, because technology has advanced and militaries now have access to radars that let them know electronically where ships are located and the direction they are heading in. Militaries don’t rely on someone accessing direction and speed by looking out a telescope anymore, so optical illusions would not work today. Evaluating Question: I believe that dazzling up these ships had something to do with less torpedoing, but wasn’t the only reason. Because judging direction and speed was done by a person in a U-boat during this time, I can see how the optical illusions on the ships would make that a difficult task and probably did help contribute to less ships being torpedoed. However historians now believe that convoys played a role in this. Convoys are a group (in this case) ships sailing together, and the increased number of ships overall provide protection. Historians also mention that depth charges (which were basically bombs dropped into the ocean by ships to attack submarines/U-boats with a hydraulic blast) were also helpful in protecting ships from being torpedoed.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Susan Morris

    Excellent book! Written for young readers, but everyone could learn a tremendous amount from this book. Besides the wonderful text, the design & illustrations are excellent as well. The author's note is top-rate as well. Must use this with 5th grade. But this would be great for high school history class discussions. (Library) Excellent book! Written for young readers, but everyone could learn a tremendous amount from this book. Besides the wonderful text, the design & illustrations are excellent as well. The author's note is top-rate as well. Must use this with 5th grade. But this would be great for high school history class discussions. (Library)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    A fascinating look at the ships that were painted during World War I in order to confuse German U-boats that we’re sinking all vessels headed toward the UK. I wasn’t aware of this practice and found the story to be quite intriguing. They do not have proof that it made a difference, but what an interesting true story of “desperate times calling for desperate measures!”

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Mazzola

    Art deco style, optical illusions, maritime/war history that is engaging and approachable -- this book was dazzling! The art is stunning and it presents just the right amount of information about WWI to be accessible to students who are less familiar with the topic and still interesting to those that have some background knowledge. And, it was brand new information for me, which I love reading.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Great message and proof that the whole makerspace movement is nothing new: "Times change. Technology changes....But a willingness to tackle problems by trying the unlikely, the improbable, the seemingly bonkers will always be needed." Fascinating topic by Chris Barton and a RI School of Design illustrator make this a winning combination. Great message and proof that the whole makerspace movement is nothing new: "Times change. Technology changes....But a willingness to tackle problems by trying the unlikely, the improbable, the seemingly bonkers will always be needed." Fascinating topic by Chris Barton and a RI School of Design illustrator make this a winning combination.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I had absolutely no clue that these ships existed. This is a great story about British and American ships that were painted with dazzling designs in order to confuse U-boat commanders in WWI. Wonderful!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    I heard the same 99% Invisible podcast as Chris Barton, and I'm so glad he ran with the information. Recommended to the RICBA committee. I heard the same 99% Invisible podcast as Chris Barton, and I'm so glad he ran with the information. Recommended to the RICBA committee.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    I had no idea. The things one earns from children's books. I had no idea. The things one earns from children's books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Gray

    This excellent book about a little known practice to camouflage during WWI would be a great read aloud in a history class.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Great illustrations and interesting facts presented. The beginning of the book is a bit dry which may prevent a child from continuing with it. Limited appeal.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Kamph

    Thank you for this informative, interesting book worth reading and looking at for an 11 year old boy!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Justin Hill

    I found this book when I searched my library for an early OMD album of the same name. Now I know what dazzle ships were and I am going to work this knowledge into multiple upcoming conversations.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Keeley

    Caldecott Read! Based on the illustrations alone, this book is PERFECTION. I was just mesmerized by each page. This could be my pick for the winner!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Frederic

    A kids' picture-book on WWI?! On painting ships?!? At first glance those may not seem like obvious topics for a young kid. But if you think about how much many kids like trains, trucks, planes, and, yes, ships, and how much kids like playing with paint, then it starts to click. And it's a great piece of history, with art and military science coming together. I've seen and read a fair amount on the "dazzle ships" so this wasn't new to me, but it's really well told -- and truly extraordinarily wel A kids' picture-book on WWI?! On painting ships?!? At first glance those may not seem like obvious topics for a young kid. But if you think about how much many kids like trains, trucks, planes, and, yes, ships, and how much kids like playing with paint, then it starts to click. And it's a great piece of history, with art and military science coming together. I've seen and read a fair amount on the "dazzle ships" so this wasn't new to me, but it's really well told -- and truly extraordinarily well illustrated! I mean, every page here would be stunning as a painting hung on the wall, they're that gorgeous. I like that there are several pages at the end with more information, references, and notes from the author and illustrator. This is a book that I would've loved as a kid!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    Truly dazzling (and informative to boot). How did I go through almost two decades of education and never know about project Dazzle during WWII? Will definitely add this to my shortlist of party trivia.

  28. 4 out of 5

    John Plowright

    The British tried all manner of means in the First World War to combat the U-boat menace and particularly the threat posed by unrestricted submarine warfare. These included depth charges, catapult planes, Q-ships (decoy merchant ships with concealed weaponry) and the convoy system. However, the most imaginative innovation was the development of dazzle camouflage: Norman Wilkinson’s counter-intuitive idea that by painting ships in bold colours and patterns it would make them less rather than more The British tried all manner of means in the First World War to combat the U-boat menace and particularly the threat posed by unrestricted submarine warfare. These included depth charges, catapult planes, Q-ships (decoy merchant ships with concealed weaponry) and the convoy system. However, the most imaginative innovation was the development of dazzle camouflage: Norman Wilkinson’s counter-intuitive idea that by painting ships in bold colours and patterns it would make them less rather than more likely to be sunk because U-boat commanders would be confused about ship speed and direction. This story is told for children in the admirable and very enjoyable ‘Dazzle Ships. World War 1 and the Art of Confusion’. Dazzle was employed by the United States, once it entered the Great War, as well as the United Kingdom, so this book deserves an audience on both sides of the Atlantic and amongst girls as well as boys as the author, Chris Barton, takes care to explain that in the States members of the Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps painted ships, whilst female former art school students played a key role in painting original designs on wooden models in the British dazzle studios. As befits its subject matter ‘Dazzle Ships’ is a picture book and the illustrations by Victo Ngai are very engaging. There are also four photographs - one of Wilkinson, one of HMS Kildangan in all its dazzle finery and two portraying the aforementioned contributions of American and British women. The text is generally very good although the main text suggests only one period of unrestricted submarine warfare whereas the timeline correctly records that there were actually two (the first being suspended following the protests arising from the sinking of the Lusitania). The timeline also suggests that the British blockade of Germany began in March 1915 when it was rather tightened at that date. It is also surprising that the only reference to the use of dazzle after 1918 occurs obliquely, when another book is mentioned. Not only was dazzle employed again in World War Two but there is still a dazzle ship operating today in the form of Sir Peter Blake’s Dazzle Ferry. As it operates on the Mersey one can only assume that it’s designed to ward off yellow submarines.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I first learned about this beautifully innovative deception in the longer middle-grade book Double Cross by Paul B. Janeczko. For older readers, like this one, it opens eyes to the desperate problem-solving done in so many ways to help win wars. This time Chris Barton tells the story from World War I of the need to stop Germany from torpedoing ships of war or those carrying goods to the United Kingdom. Suddenly, the war's loss seemed imminent if something wasn't changed to help those ships. The I first learned about this beautifully innovative deception in the longer middle-grade book Double Cross by Paul B. Janeczko. For older readers, like this one, it opens eyes to the desperate problem-solving done in so many ways to help win wars. This time Chris Barton tells the story from World War I of the need to stop Germany from torpedoing ships of war or those carrying goods to the United Kingdom. Suddenly, the war's loss seemed imminent if something wasn't changed to help those ships. The UK depends on food and other needed items brought in because it is an island, and Germany hoped to starve them into defeat. Things such as training seals to alert for submarines (really!) were considered, but once a lieutenant-commander named Norman Wilkinson introduced the idea of painting ships to confuse the enemy about a ship's speed and direction, and he convinced the king himself, the idea was carried out. Many people contributed to this work, artists and other workers, too. The endnotes give the statistics of about 3,000 ships painted by the UK and 1,256 by the U.S. No one has a way to prove that it indeed helped, but the U-boat attacks stopped and Germany eventually surrendered. Barton tells the story in step by step brief paragraphs, highlighting important parts that occurred. There is an extensive author's note that adds to the information and a timeline. In addition to this interesting story of the extreme problem-solving that happens when trying to win a war, Victo Ngai offers daring full-page illustrations that seem to mirror ocean waves. The swirls of color (see the cover) amaze as he illustrates the big ideas to accompany Barton's words. Each double-page highlights one part of the story's words, with the smaller details included. For example, when the early distress of possible starvation is discussed, a warrior is shown huddling over children with empty bowls, a tipped pitcher, broken plates. Swirling in the water are sinking ships with a larger periscope "eye" looking on. It and others serve as powerful illustrations of the story. It's a terrific book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    K

    There are so many things to love about this book. First of all, it is visually stunning. It demands to be picked up. There is no way a human being could look at this book and not want to learn more! Thank you, illustrator Victo Ngai, for making this book irresistible to reluctant readers. Secondly, the story is fascinating. I admire Chris Barton's editor for bringing the idea to him of creating a picture book about ship camouflage in WWI and for his expression of slowly-accruing belief in her ide There are so many things to love about this book. First of all, it is visually stunning. It demands to be picked up. There is no way a human being could look at this book and not want to learn more! Thank you, illustrator Victo Ngai, for making this book irresistible to reluctant readers. Secondly, the story is fascinating. I admire Chris Barton's editor for bringing the idea to him of creating a picture book about ship camouflage in WWI and for his expression of slowly-accruing belief in her idea as he researched the topic. How fantastic is it that he credited her so visibly? How wonderful is it to see behind the scenes in how a picture book gets created? We should all have such lovely wind beneath our wings as editor Carol Hinz brought to author Chris Barton on this book. Thirdly, the author helps the reader see what to learn from the story that could be applied to the reader's own life. This is brilliant passage: 'a willingness to tackle problems by trying the unlikely, the improbable, the seemingly bonkers will always be needed.' Fourthly, Chris Barton includes his inquiry and research process in the book, and his curation of what should and should not be included. Especially for PYP students, this visible deliniation of process from ideation, to research, to curation is fabulously detailed. Thank you, Mr. Barton, for your example that students can learn from. I also appreciated that the author was so careful to include female contribution to the project of camouflaging these ships. Another fun addition: the illustrator, Victo Ngai, puts in her spectacular illustrations her own Chinese chop as her signature - just the sort of thing to keep young people examining each illustration for that much longer as they search for it. Additional winning details of this picture book include a timeline, photos from the period of ships being camouflaged, and a bibliography of sources.

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