Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book 83: Animalogy: Animal Analogies

Animalogy: Animal Analogies, written by Marianne Berkes, illustrated by Cathy Morrison, Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2011.  (Preschool/Elementary)

I have another book downstairs to review. This one came in through the front door by way of the post because it is a brand-new book.

As with all of Marianne Berkes' books, when I first read it I thought "What a great idea! Why didn't I think of that?" And that is what makes the books of Marianne Berkes stand out in a crowd. In my years as a children's librarian and later as a mother of an avid "reader", I have read classics, old and new, but never have I read a book like Animalogy. I've read several opposite books. I've read quite a few comparison books. But I have never read an analogy book for toddlers/preschooler before. Even if my not-quite-three-year-old does not fully understand the concept of analogy, at least when it is presented to him in school, it will be a reacquaintance and not a new introduction.

The illustrations in this book are sharp. I would have thought almost too sharp, especially the lion's and dog's teeth; however, my little boy does not seem to agree with me. At his age, he still likes cute and cuddly -- Classic Winnie the Pooh, but he also likes sharp and spiky -- rubbery, ugly dinosaurs. I think he likes the danger that can be found in the natural environment, from a safe distance, of course. Anyway, the animals are instantly recognizable to him and he seems to prefer that over the silly cartoony ones that could be one thing as easily as another. And, when it comes down to it, so do I.

So, if you are like me and are hoping to raise a genius (or at least a smart, young reader), you will need to add this book to your children's library.

*For reviews on books to borrow, please see Louise's Blog in Blogs I Follow

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book 82: Big Red Barn

Big Red Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Felicia Bond, HarperCollins 1995.  (Baby/Toddler)

Another book has migrated downstairs for my review. Before I wrote this review, I had to do a little research on the author. I vaguely remembered that she had no children and died young -- I was right: she never married, had no children and died of a post-surgery blood clot in 1952 at the age of 42. Yet her work lives on in a big way. Why?

Big Red Barn, like Goodnight Moon, reads like a lullaby. It is about impossible to not lull your voice when reading it. Its phrases end with a gentle rhyme, not forced-feeling rhyming couplets. And, also like Goodnight Moon, as the book winds down, the phrases become shorter until they just disappear and the story is over. That's why an adult at a child's bedtime would like. Why a toddler likes it, I don't know. It could be the animal noises interspersed in the story. It could be the lullaby effect of the book. It could be anything. I just know that my toddler likes it.

Felicia Bond is very well-known for her illustrations in the "If You Give..." series, and rightfully so. Her pictures brim with personality, color and humor. None of those qualities are lost in this edition of Margaret Wise Brown's classic.

For other reviews on books to borrow, see Louise's Blog in Blogs I Follow.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book 81: Brainy Baby -- Shapes and Colors

Brainy Baby -- Shapes and Colors, Brainy Baby Company LLC, 2005.  (Baby/Toddler)

When I first found out I was pregnant, I went shopping at my local Waldenbooks to pick up some board books. Sadly, the Waldenbooks is gone now, but I still have the books I found on that trip.

I spotted the Brainy Baby collection and knew I just had to have it for my little peanut. After all, I wanted him (or her) to have every advantage. Shapes and Colors is one of a set of four, and I'm reviewing it first, because it happens to be downstairs (thanks, Thomas), and carrying things up and down the stairs is still a challenge.

What to say about this book? Well, first it is very sturdy. This was one of the first books I let my little boy hold when he was still a baby, and it still is in near-perfect shape. As the title would indicate, it is very colorful. It does present shapes in an easy-for-a-toddler-to-understand way. Apart from calling a rectangle a square, my not-yet-three-year-old has mastered this book. And toddlers/preschoolers really seem to love it. After all, my little boy brought it downstairs for me to read with him.

The other three books in this collection are just as good, and I'll be reviewing them as they show up down the stairs.

For reviews on books to borrow, see Louise's Blog in Blogs I Follow