Title: Look What I’ve Got!
Author: Anthony Browne
Illustrator: Anthony Browne
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s Picture book
Book format: Paperback
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description: Jeremy, it seems, has everything: a new bicycle, a pirate outfit, an enormous bag of lollipops. But he won’t share anything with Sam. Could it be, though, that Sam has something far more valuable? This stunning book is filled with visual jokes and a message to inspire.

*Free copy provided (as part of the ‘Anthony Browne Collection’) by publisher for review…

Review:  This is a brilliant book with a clever story which may have been missed on some people (judging by some reviews I’ve seen on Amazon). ‘Look What I’ve Got!’ seems like a simple story but there’s a clever message in this story which some kids may need explaining.

Look What I've Got book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

The book is a little smaller than A4 in size and is filled with thick, glossy and colourful pages. The tale seems quite simple, Sam goes for a walk and during this walk he meets Jeremy who shows off his new bicycle to Sam “Look what I’ve got! I bet you wish you had one.” Jeremy doesn’t let Sam ride his bike, instead he just shows it off. But Sam doesn’t seem bothered. The story continues along this familiar theme, Jeremy constantly showing off what he has but never sharing it with Sam.

The illustrations are very clever and there is much more to each picture than first appears. The pictures are nice and clear but all the clever little extras you see make this quite a detailed book too. For example there are ears on the wall ‘The walls have ears’ and the drain pipe in the same picture looks like a snowman when you take a few minutes to spot it! All these strange images give the book a really surreal, Dali-like feel and it makes it very fun for both adults and kids to spot all the little things.

Look What I've Got book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

The story has a simple end which is satisfying if you understand the message of the tale, but it may be lost on some kids without adults pointing out what this book is really about. I’m not spoiling the actual story of Sam and Jeremy but I don’t feel I’d do justice to how brilliant this book is without saying that it’s all about the power of imagination. Although everywhere Sam goes might seem normal at first, his imagination conjures up all sorts of strange things. The main message of the book is that imagination is far better than all the material things that Jeremy has and it’s this that makes the book such an amazing read and one I’d really recommend.

All the illustrations are great, I especially like the fish images in the park as well as the hidden things in the last page, however there is an image of a park keeper that looks like Adolf Hitler which may shock some people. This book was first published in 1980 though, when I believe Hitler was a more known and spoken about character among both the adults and kids. Although an Amazon reviewer has pointed out the Hitler reference and complained about it, I believe that it’s simply Sam’s imagination creating a Hitler likeness for the park keeper (what he sees as a very bad/evil man) and if the book had been written today it may have been an image of Voldemort or some other character which kids better associate with being bad. I still believe this book can be read to kids today, they just need to be told that this park keeper looks like a very bad man from history and they can learn more about it when they are older.

Look What I've Got book page image three
©The Strawberry Post

Overall I really do like this book. The message of imagination over material things is so clever and one that many kids these days may benefit from. I also think many kids may relate to Sam, I certainly did as I couldn’t have a wealth of toys when I was younger but my imagination was (and still is today) very strong. A great book both kids and adults will enjoy.

-Review frist appereared online November 2017 – now republished here.

Have you read any books by Anthony Browne?  What do you think of the story and the interesting illustrations?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂