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Spot the Difference: Look

Updated: Jun 30

Guest blog post by Gabi Snyder


Gabi Snyder is the author of LOOK, illustrated by Samantha Cotterill and published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books in April 2024. You can order it here.


I first drafted LOOK in February 2020. I’ve always been fascinated by patterns and knew I wanted patterns to play a role in one of my picture books. I had drafted other pattern-focused picture books, including a book called THE FRIENDSHIP PATTERN that went on submission in 2019, but didn’t get acquired. With LOOK, part of the initial spark was the idea that once you notice something, really pay attention to it, you start seeing it everywhere. And I think that’s especially true with patterns, which really are everywhere. I also wanted LOOK to potentially be a companion to my earlier book, LISTEN, which has a mindfulness element. I have found that when the world feels overwhelming finding patterns can be calming and grounding. So the book is both a celebration of patterns in the world around us and a strategy for mindfulness.

As you’ll see in the side-by-side comparison below, I originally included a subtitle, “Patterns Everywhere.” I believe my editor preferred the shorter LOOK, and that’s probably for the best because there’s a lovely 2023 title by Lisa Varchol Perron called PATTERNS EVERYWHERE. Great minds!


Early Draft

Final, Published Version

Title


LOOK: Patterns Everywhere

LOOK

The opening evolved from a world that is “Too bright! Too crowded! Too confusing!” with “Too many shapes and colors! Too many people and machines!” to a “VAST world” that is “filled with colors and shapes and sizes” that “can be a lot to take in.” Aside from the early opening having altogether too many exclamation points, I think the editing process with my agent, critique partners, and editor, distilled the opening down into a more lyrical expression of the ways in which the sights of the world can overwhelm.


Early Draft

Final, Published Version

Opening 

Sometimes when you step outside, the world is…

Too bright! Too crowded! Too confusing!

Too many shapes and colors!

Too many people and machines!

But what if you stop, open your eyes, and focus on just one thing—a pattern? 


We are in this VAST world. And the world is all around— filled with colors and shapes and sizes. It can be a lot to take in.

But what if you stop, LOOK around, and get a closer view?



I knew I wanted to start with stripes as my first pattern example because stripes are a ubiquitous example of a basic alternating pattern. And truly, once you start looking for stripes you see them everywhere!  As you’ll see in the side-by-side example below, the text moved from a striped shirt to stripes made by light alternating with shadows—from sun shining between the slats in a chair back. The illustration is one of many in which Sam uses light and shadow beautifully! In terms of the other examples of stripes, the cat’s tail stayed (yay!), but the crosswalk turned into a picket fence and the columns were extended to “columns on a front porch” to help the reader find the columns in the illustration.


Early Draft

Final, Published Version

First pattern examples

Look at your STRIPED shirt. 

Blue, green, blue, green.

Look.


Where else can you find stripes?

On the cat’s tail, the crosswalk, the columns?


Take a LOOK…

at STRIPES.

Light, dark, light, dark.

Look.


Where else can you discover stripes? On the cat’s tail, the picket fence, the columns on a front porch? 



Now moving to the ending spreads, you’ll see that “the stars like a giant connect-the-dot picture” remained in the final, but other elements from the early draft were condensed. And in the final spread, we added a loving parent-child bedtime ending with “Like notes in a lullaby. And the words, ‘I love you. I love you. I love you’—a pattern of love, consistent and sure.” I think the final ending has greater emotional resonance and Samantha Cotterill’s breathtaking and heartwarming illustrations make it all the more powerful. I hope you’ll check out LOOK and then take a pattern-seeking walk! 


Early Draft

Final, Published Version

Night sky sequence

Look up…

{ART suggestion: Bedtime.}

into the clear night sky,

at the stars like a giant connect-the-dot picture.


Can you find any patterns?

Constellations. 

Spiral galaxies.

Patterns that reveal connections, 

that show us the fabric of the universe.


When it’s hard to make sense of this world . . . 

look up…

into the clear night sky, at the stars like a giant connect-the-dots picture.

Moons and stars and galaxies. Patterns everywhere connecting us.

Closing

When the world is too bright, too crowded, too confusing…

open your eyes and look. 

And find patterns everywhere.


Like notes in a lullaby. And the words “I love you. I love you. I love you”—

a pattern of love, consistent and sure.

Gabi Snyder is a fan of the unexpected and the author of several picture books. Her debut, TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE, illustrated by Robin Rosenthal, was a Kirkus Best Picture Books of 2020 selection. Her second picture book, LISTEN, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, was a 2022 Oregon Book Award finalist. And her third title COUNT ON US!, illustrated by Sarah Walsh, was the winner of the 2022 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award in the children’s category. Her most recent books include TODAY, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, and LOOK, illustrated by Samantha Cotterill and a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection.  

Gabi studied psychology at the University of Washington and creative writing at The University of Texas. When she’s not writing, she loves taking nature walks, visiting Little Free Libraries, and baking sweet treats. She lives in Oregon with her family. Learn more at gabisnyder.com.


Images were all provided by the author.


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1件のコメント


Robin Currie
Robin Currie
6月25日

I love these Sport the Difference articles! What a imaginative pattern book.

いいね!
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