They are sure to notice many details adults miss, sure to draw attention to some people in loud voices, embarrassing at times, sure to feel curious about some people, perhaps scorn others… And sure enough, people are incredibly fascinating to observe. Peter Spier’s book, People, is a miniature catalogue-of-sorts, delightfully picturing scads of similarities and differences between people around the world.
Spier says that “noses come in every shape imaginable,” for example, and then draws for us over 50 different noses, as well as ears and hair and eyes. He moves on to clothes, games, homes, hobbies, celebrations, foods, religions, jobs, languages and more, illustrating a brilliant array of each one of these in his delightful, colorful style. We see, for example, homes from Bedouin tents to English cottages to Chinese rice barges to camper trailers. Gorgeous scripts in Javanese and Hebrew and Korean. Festivals in New Guinea and Sweden. Girls playing Old Lady-Old Lady in Pakistan, and men playing Go in China. Spier reminds us visually how “dreadfully dull this world of ours would be if everybody would look, think, eat, dress, and act the same!”
This is a book to look at again and again and again, absorbing something else each time as there are so many illustrations packed in this slim book. The message of enjoying the vast differences between people rather than being critical of them, is a great message, and it is delivered tastefully and beautifully by Spier. Our tattered copy is a sign of how we’ve loved this book.