Last fall, when I started to have my first rumblings of being drawn to write and the realization that I have a passion for children's books, my daughter's preschool had a teeny, tiny book fair set up in the foyer.  I bought a few books to add to our ever-growing mini library.  WADDLE!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder, stood out on the shelf that day and has been outstanding in entertaining and educating my children ever since!

   The science behind what makes this book great and unlike most other animal books is similar to a hologram.  Remember those cool images you used to tilt as a kid and it looked as though the object in the picture was moving?  Now, if that blew your mind in the eighties, imagine what the amped-up, modern version can do to your little ones' minds.  When I opened WADDLE! for the first time I was dazzled by the dancing penguin on the cover and now, after researching the author/illustrator, I know why.

   Rufus created the LIFETILES medium in 1987.  As described in his biography, "This type of animation is known as the 'picket fence' technique – because if you look through a picket fence while you're going past it, anything moving on the other side appears to be traveling in a jerky way."  Only, he improved the technology by fabricating the black stripes, or 'coded' image, which results in fluid motion.  Instead of the old holograms and lenticular imagery, "LIFETILES (is) capable of supporting up to six different phases of movement."  Basically, the animals really move and you don't have to tilt the page "just so" in order to enjoy it.  Click here for an example of a frog and here for a dolphin.

Baltimore Aquariuam, 1990.
    After growing up with healthy influences in both art and science (his mother was a piano teacher and his father was a journalist/photographer/ inventor/electrical and mechanical engineer whom gravitated towards writing about inventors), Rufus really absorbed his parents' expertise and used it to become a renowned, innovative artist.  From protégé to filmmaker and finally to inventor, he received a patent for a 'Manually Operated Moveable Display Device', otherwise known as the Kineticard optical toy, and his LIFETILES installations are displayed in the Smithsonian, Sea World, Union Station, and other museums, aquariums, train stations, and ocean liners around the world.

   He has since expanded and capitalized on his LIFETILES vision with creating Scanimation books like Waddle! and his own line of one-of-a-kind toys at Eye Think Inc.  I realized I can definitely relate to his fascination with the allure of motion imagery when he shared, "I'd always liked those 1950s animated moiré pattern lamps with the inner rotating cylinder...and I set out to create something similar: a lamp with images that would actually come to life and move.”  I was captivated by the spinning lamp in Mermaids and sought out to find one for my first born's nursery when I was pregnant.

Do you remember that scene where Cher walks in the room
and sees the waves illuminating and rotating on the walls?
I totally wanted that room when I was little!

I have always loved this movie! 
"Mom is many things...normal isn't one of them."

   In case you're wondering, I was able to find one similar to this moon and stars spinning motion lamp on ebay, but it had an ocean theme with fish and coral.  Even though it didn't project anything on the walls, it was so adorable and hypnotizing.  We cherished it and used it every night until I left it on for a bit when it had been unknowingly bumped and the inner cylinder melted to the light bulb.  It was a sad day, but I knew it was going to be a hazard when I discovered the heat from the bulb is what makes the cylinder spin.  No, it's not very safe for a baby's nursery.  Whether or not my husband is a firefighter and an expert on fire safety, it was our first baby and I wanted that lamp. 

   Anyway, with thick pages it resembles a board book and because it illustrates so many animals (a penguin, frog, pig, elephant, snake, hummingbird, bear, dolphin), it is great for all ages!   It is also small at 5" x 7" and is therefore great for travel!  There has been some criticism that the black lines make it too dark and since it is possible to be done without them it should have been.  And some feel the alligator at the end who is "gonna getcha" is a little too scary for a children's book.  But my girls love causing the animals to move by opening each page, and then mimicking each fantastic action verb with a waddle, hop, prance, stomp, slither, flap, scamper, and leap on the floor in their room- especially the slither and, yes, even the alligator chomp at the end.  Oh, and it's colorful.  And it rhymes.  It really is a crowd pleaser and has earned 4 out of 5 blueberries as our newest Blueberry Book!  If you're still not convinced, check out this other Mom's recommendation here.

   You can purchase WADDLE! hereMommy and Me Book Club is a fantastic resource for activities that relate to the books we read to our little ones.  For this book, I suggest the Penguin paper plate craft, penguin shuffle, and iceberg hop games!  And be sure to check out more in this bestselling series:  SWING! and KICK! do for kids what WADDLE! and, the one that started it all, GALLOP! (also available in Spanish, AL GALOPE!) does for animals!  There is even a STAR WARS! one.  And if that isn't enough, there is a set of 8 greeting cards (which comes with two sticker sheets) available here!


  1. First of all.....Mermaids!!!! You just took me right back to our childhood. I can't even count the number of times we watched that in your living room! :).

    And, a friend of mine just gave Austin SWING at the beginning of the summer. I had never seen these books but now think they are so cool. He may be a little young now, but I'm amazed!

    1. I know!! It was either Mermaids or Witches of Eastwick. ;) Oh, he'll love it in no time! It's so fun to be able to look at everything from a child's perspective again!

  2. New reader here, absolutely LOVE THIS BLOG!! so amazing. I nominated you for a Liebster award, http://awednesdaychild.blogspot.com

    so happy I have a new place to check out books:)

    1. Thank you SOOO much for joining us and for your super sweet words!! It is always nice to hear someone is reading this. ;) Thank you so much for nominating me for the Liebster award! I'll get to work on it asap. :)