28 October 2011

A Trio of Board Books

Despite my lack of blogging, I have been reading. Not a lot, but some. I had a long list of books I had read that I meant to review, but I have given up hope of catching up. It's been so long (and my brain is currently a bit addled by Baby) that I'd really have to re-read a bunch. So, a fresh start.

Lucky for me (and you!), Albert Whitman has again sent e a box of books for review. I have divided them into loose groupings and hope to post reviews regularly until I have finished with this box.

Tonight, I'll look at the three board books we got. I read all three of them to my 4-month-old, multiple times. He seemed to like them but, then again, he seems to like every book I show him. He's 4 months old. Every book is a revelation.

First up is The Baby Goes Beep, written by Rebecca O'Connell and charmingly illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max. Can I just go on record saying that I always like Ken Wilson-Max's work? His bright colors and bold lines are absolutely perfect for the pre-reading audience this book is meant for. The text is simple ("The baby goes beep  the baby goes beep beep beep beep"), with each action occurring over a two-page spread. the first page shos the baby alone - beeping a toy car horn, for example. The second page shows the baby repeating the action with an adult; in the first case, beeping his Daddy's nose. Max giggled when I "beeped" his nose as I read (and especially when we got to "The baby goes smooch"). This book invites interaction between a caregiver and child. It could also be a great read-aloud for an infant lapsit program or toddler storytime.

Also by Rebecca O'Connell (this time illustrated by Amanda Guilliver), is Done with Diapers: A Potty ABC (also published as Danny is...). This larger board book is clearly for a slightly older set than The Baby Goes Beep. Each page features a picture of a child in one phase of potty training or another. The illustrations are cheerful - bright, warm colors and lots of white space. I also appreciate that the children possess a wide range of skin and hair tones. Under the illustration is a red sentence, beginning with the relevant letter: "C is for Clean." Each page's theme is expounded on briefly: "Clap for Caleb! He pooped in the potty and kept his clothes clean." Notice all the C's in that sentence: clap, Caleb, clothes, clean. Besides being a cheerful book to encourage little one embarking on potty-training, this title is also a very fuunctional alphabet book. Can't wait for Max for be really ready to share this one!

Finally for this evening, we have This Tree, 1, 2, 3 written by Alison Formento and illustrated by Sarah Snow. Of the three board books, this is the one I am most conflicted about. I like it, but something keeps me from loving it. Having read it aloud a number of times now, I think it is the framing around the "counting" portion of the book. It begins: "A tall tree stood behind Oak Lane School. It had a story to tell." Two pages later, we begin counting: "1 owl waits for the moon,' etc. It ends with, "Jake said, 'This tree counts!'" I see that this is an abridged board book edition of a (presumably) longer picture book; in my opinion, it would have worked better as a straight counting book. The animals on each page are fun to find and couont and the art has a kind of retro feel to it, rather like picture books I found in the school library as a child. I will definitely keep this book to share with my boy, but I would like the book much better if it had been abridged just a smidge more.

Thanks again, Albert Whitman, for some great books!

disclaimer: The books reviewed in this post were sent to me by Albert Whitman & Company to review for this blog. I read all the books and all opinions expressed here are my own.

No comments: