What is this?


From all the books I picked up during my summer travels, one little, plain-looking one fascinated me the most. What is This? is a (~kids) book by Tamara Shopsin playing with our imagination in such a simple, inspiring way, I keep coming back to it almost daily.


You only need a few additional lines to tell a new story. I’m often staring at the cover imagining what else it can be.

Tamara Shopsin is a graphic designer and illustrator in New York City and also a cook in her family’s restaurant, Shopsin’s*, on Saturdays. I had the coincidental fortune to eat there on one of these days. My fantastic mac and cheese pancakes were probably prepared by her 😍. While enjoying our food immensely, my companion Nick Sherman, a regular at the place, brought up Tamara’s books while we were chatting with the proprietor Kenny Shopsin, and Kenny gave me a copy. I have since given it away several times myself.

Equally great, This Equals That and Tamara’s memoir Mumbai New York Scranton.

Images from Tamara Shopsin’s website

Images from Tamara Shopsin’s website


* I knew this place was special and I would love it the moment Nick told me about their menu design, which Kenny Shopsin makes himself in Quark Xpress.

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