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Before After

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  680 ratings  ·  175 reviews
Everyone knows that a tiny acorn into a mighty oak grows, and a caterpillar emerges into a butterfly. But in this book, it's also true that a cow can result in both a bottle of milk and a painting of a cow, and an ape in a jungle may become an urban King Kong. Just as day turns into night and back again, a many-tiered cake is both created and eaten down to a single piece. ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Candlewick Press (first published November 1st 2013)
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Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was sitting on the coffee table. Roommate got it from the library to show to her 4-year-old daughter, I guess. I needed to kill a few minutes. I picked it up. And I'm glad that I did. For a book with no words in it, it really says a lot.

Basically, as you go through the book, there are two beautifully rendered and colorful illustrations juxtaposed next to each other. A "before" and and "after": A chrysalis, then a butterfly; a slab of stone, then a statue. BUT HERE'S THE THING: as you go th
Matteo Fumagalli
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Un silent-book meraviglioso che declina gli infiniti significati dei concetti di "Prima" e "Dopo" (non solo temporali). Ironico, filosofico, ricco di sottili riferimenti culturali. Visivamente bellissimo.
Una sorpresa.
Per piccoli (e grandi).
Dani - Perspective of a Writer
Check out more picture book reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

Only through graphic illustrations the order of things is explored in a big book of pictures.

When I picked this book up in the library I was dismayed. This was an adult picture book! No kid would want to read this... I was a little put out but I thought it would work in a pinch when my nephew was having a bad day...

Well he happened to arrive the same day later than normal so we hadn't read a book yet. He picked this one off the pil
WOW. I have been a big fan of wordless books ever since a kindergartner sat me down and read Korgi to me, constructing the story entirely from the pictures.

This book, in two-page spreads, asks the reader to fill in the blank between two before/after images. A burning candle, a pile of wax. A slingshot, a broken window. A beehive, a jar of honey.

Some of the coupled images expand into a series - egg, chicken, chicken, egg. Some inferences are easy, some are more complex or conceptual. Some invite
Maximilian Lee
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think this book was very inspiring because I think the Author was very flexible with "before & after". I especially liked the moon, then sun in the beginning, and the sun , then moon in the end of he book.
Wowwww. This book is awesome. I was expecting it to be cool but I wasn't expecting to chuckle or have little gasps of delight when I realized what the illustrators were getting at. Some are a bit sad, too. Take the time to savor the pictures; they're wonderful.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully big wordless book of before and after illustrations. My favorite is the lush jungle where the monkey is climbing a tree and then the monkey climbing a skyscraper.
Gwen the Librarian
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
A gorgeous, high-concept, wordless picture book. It brought me to tears on the exhibit floor at ALA. Each image suggests a before and after. A caterpillar on a leaf in one image, a fatter caterpillar and a very chewed leaf on the next page. A rocking horse on one page, a rocking chair on the next. There's a lot to enjoy & discuss here for all ages.

It's really thick, librarians, so do be aware.
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lovely illustrations, clever, thought-provoking. It would be so fun to sit down with a small child and discuss what before and after means for each pair.I like how they occasionally return to elements previously depicted, like the brick wall and the wedding cake. It's the sort of book that would reward repeated readings.
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
At first I thought it was a Laura Vaccaro Seeger "First the Egg" rip-off, but this wordless book is touching, thought-provoking, dialogue-encouraging, and beautiful.
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a clever picture book for pre-readers:
Left Page/Right Page

Then it gets even more clever:


Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite wordless books ever, wow!
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don’t do a very good job at recording all the excellent picture books that come my way, but at least I’ll remember this one! A wordless book that present before/after pictures in two page spreads. While some appear very simple and obvious, as the book goes on there is more and more sophistication evident in how the author/artist created this work. My 10 year old and I found lots to think about when we pages through it together! A good gift choice for a variety of ages.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book because I like books with only pictures. I also enjoyed this book because I liked the part when a pile of bricks teleported into a place for a gigantic brick wall.
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
The passage of time is captured beautifully in this wordless book that shows one example after another of before and then after. The book is a delightful mix of concepts with examples from nature, pop culture and plenty of humor. An acorn before becomes an oak tree after. A small ape before becomes King Kong after. Ingredients become a cake and a few pages later the cake is eaten and left as crumbs. But what came first, the chicken or the egg. This book takes a wry and balanced view of that deba ...more
Matthew Winner
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
First up is Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui. This is a gorgeous book of graphic illustrations where two images are paired together: a before and after image. There are pictures that are funny pairings. There are poignant pairings. There are just thoughtful pairings. There are some that seem obvious and some that are surprises. I love, for example, that we have all these ingredients laid out on one side of the page, and on the other we have the finished cake. We have an a ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This wordless picture book is longer than you might expect and actually is more the size of a chapter book. Some before and after examples are obvious, such as an acorn and a large tree, a baby swan and an adult swan, a deck of cards and a house of cards. Other examples are a bit more obscure and ones that a child wouldn't likely know, such as a pigeon and a letter, and an ink bottle and a typewriter. These provide a good opportunity for talking about the way things used to be done. Still others ...more
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I love this book! Some of the concepts are simple: a "before" picture of a bud and an "after" picture of a daisy", for example, or, a “before” picture of a small puffer fish and an “after” picture of him puffed up. But the book also includes more complicated concepts like time, seasons, transformation (eggs, milk, butter, strawberries become a cake), destruction, day/night, and death (frog and fly). Some pictures may have to be explained to younger readers: a pumpkin/carriage, for example, or th ...more
Mary Lee
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, wordless
This book will spark lots of conversation. It seems simple at first, but there are before/afters that are very funny, some that are very deep, and some that hold literary allusions (Cinderella, Three Pigs). It begs to be reread because pictures from early in the book show up again later. It could be a very fun example of the power of close (repeated) reading and has enormous potential for use with language learners.
Emma (Miss Print)
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful artwork in this wordless picture book. Some whimsical before and afters (a pumpkin becomes a coach, a baby gorilla becomes King Kong) and also some clever sequences (egg becomes chicken who hatches an egg) and some interesting progressions (ie from squid to ink through mailing options). This is a longer book so it would work best for a smaller group. I could also see it being used with older kids in a writing or drawing workshop.
Just when you think you've got a simple before/after concept figured out (caterpillar/butterfly), this book goes a level deeper, with intertwining stories (there's that cake again - the one that was ingredients/cake is now cake/crumbs) and there are seasons and narratives and repeating motifs to spot. Lots to study and share in a study of narrative, along with beautiful design, illustrations, and color palette.
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
Beautifully illustrated book suitable for any age!

Would definitely recommend it to parents of young children as the lack of text and the structure of the illustrations lends it to a sort of "choose your own adventure/story" giving children a chance to use their imagination or parents to offer explanations of why (such as why the caterpillar is now a butterfly, or why "before" is a squid and "after" is a jar of ink)

adventure and education, 5 stars!
Aug 30, 2015 marked it as picture-books
No words. Great illustrations.
Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Wasn't sure I liked it at first. Take time to really look and it grows on you.
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
This book is just fantastic! It's beautiful, first of all, but, in that way that all great children's books share, it can be enjoyed on multiple levels. A book to be "read" again and again.
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Read for a fun project at work - a coworker wants to circulate one book through the whole staff. I read it to my children, and we enjoyed it.
Haley Hergenrader
Genre: This is a nonfiction book because through illustrations only it shows how certain things in our world change over time, such as a caterpillar turning into a butterfly and different cycles that happen such as a chick hatching from an egg, growing into a hen, and then laying an egg for another chick to hatch from.

Target Audience: The target audience would be Primary-Intermediate. This book can allow beginning readers start to see how things change just by looking at the pictures. There isn
Becky B
A series of pictures that display a before and after. It may be something that will change in a matter of seconds, like fireworks before they explode and their display in the sky. Or it could be something that will take many days or decades, like a cow in a field becoming a painting of a cow in a field, a well-kept house becoming a broken down relic, or an acorn and a mighty oak. From seasons to productions, they have one thing in common, one thing came before the other.

This is a completely word
Another wordless picture book, this time one that explores cause and effect, before and after, the passage of time. It is a large book, so definitely one to dip in and out of, and while some of the before/after combinations are expected, there is also plenty of room for lateral thinking: a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, a cake gets eaten, an egg becomes a chicken, a chicken produces an egg. I'm really looking forward to the discussions children have about this book!
Stephanie Croaning
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This wordless book has readers mentally making connections between two images -- some type of before and after. A spider hanging from a branch in the daytime becomes a complicated web that glistens in the moon. A four-page series shows an egg, a chicken, a chicken, then finally an egg, reminding the reader of the timeless "which came first" debate.

This is a very creative and engaging book!
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Anne-Margot Ramstein studied art in Paris before joining the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg. She created illustrations for ABC des Tracas with Matthias Arégui as well as the children’s book Les Illuminations D’Albert Einstein. She lives in France.
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