A hybrid book, traditional picture book and guessing game, WHOSE HANDS features jobs traditionally explored with this age group, and occupations not as commonly known for the younger set. Readers learn about potters, news reporters, architects, and referees along with farmers, police, teachers and scientists. The bright, and inclusive illustrations by Brazilian native Luciana Navarro Powell, ensure that minorities are well-represented, too. People of color, women, and older people are included in the array of helpful careers.
Structure & Design
Miranda and Luciana have found a great format for this guessing game using the page turn as a strong artistic device. For each occupation, we first see the hands at work coupled with the bouncy rhythm and rhyme. Next, the full page reveal completes the rhyme and we see/learn the answer to our question. For example, the science spread begins:
"Quest and test, these hands are turning,
Test again - these hands are learning!
Weight and count, their work persists.
These hands belong to...(page turn)
This repeating structure helps younger children predict and even anticipate the ellipsis and the page turn reveal. Even the first page takes advantage of the unique quality of the page turn as we see a hand ready to turn the page accompanying the text "Can you guess? Whose hands are these?"
Another design element that distinguish this book includes the deliberate order of occupations. The book begins with farmers and moves seamlessly to cooks - a la "farm to table." Children and astute adults can discuss where food begins and ends. The occupations conclude with the teacher who introduces Career Day in the next spread and there, on the bulletin board, the reader finds the final question, "What could your hands do?"
The end papers delineate all the implements/tools of the trade for each occupation and another opportunity to engage children in guessing who uses what tool. Then the back matter gives us a visual cameo of all eleven occupations pulled from the book with detailed occupational information and handy synonyms for the career. Finally, the author's note inspires children and adults to dream big and fulfill their dreams.
Author Miranda Paul and illustrator Luciana Navarro Powell give caregivers, teachers, librarians, parents, children and writers many reasons to read WHOSE HANDS ARE THESE over and over again for entertainment and information.