surreal art that will make you smile and maybe shudder

by Sarah Perry - Getty Trust Publications, 1995
ages 2 years to grownup / coffee table, imagination

From cover to cover, If...  is an enjoyable and fresh look at what might be. 

The cover picture is of fish masquerading as the leaves of a tree and the book continues in the same vein with words like

“If frogs ate rainbows…”
“If the moon were square…”
“If spiders could read braille…”. 

Each page presents a simple yet complex thought and a positively enthralling illustration to match. 

I confess that If mice were hair… freaks me out a little – a bit too real for me! 

And “If butterflies were clothes…” makes me nostalgic – my grandmother had framed art works using butterfly wings as clothes. I think that most everyone will have a similar personal response to some of the pictures.

Every illustration is stunning, realistic and totally whimsical. I had to stop myself from yanking the pages out of the book to hang on bedroom walls, but I’m glad I persevered.

Because each time we open this book we see something we haven’t seen before – or see it in a new way. The last line reads:

“If this is the end…Then dream up some more!”. 

That's harder than it sounds, but lots of fun to do while driving or just before bed. (We’ve had some pretty ordinary responses like “If dogs were people…” through to some that I really enjoyed pondering on, like “If raindrops were money…”.)

Aside from being a beautiful coffee table book and really lovely to sink into with a child on a slow day, this is also a great springboard to:

art appreciation
building literary skills
creative thought
finding the funny in the mundane
thinking outside the norm
noticing what could be or what could not be

If... is simply wonderful. It's a great gift for someone who loves art or is off to explore new horizons – perhaps a new job. Or university.

You can buy If... via these direct links: Amazon - Book Depository - Booktopia