Sunday, November 27, 2011

Early Childhood Books

The Big Book of Words and Pictures by Ole Könnecke, Gecko Press
This is definitely a big board book (about 35cm tall) so it’s probably best viewed on the floor – both you and your preschooler, that is. In fact, you may even like to just leave it lying on the floor in view of the preschooler, and watch what happens. Hopefully the child will open the sturdy pages and become intrigued by the simple, attractive displays. There is no story, just a host of objects on each page with names underneath. The first page contains child-related objects (book, bed, pillow, teddy bear), the third and fourth pages contain household objects such as spoon, frying pan, bib, chair – and so on through topics such as the seasons, food, animals, the sea, flight, transport, music, sports, etc. Most objects are within the ken of a 3-year-old (for instance) but you may be called upon to explain some unfamiliar items, such as moisturiser, overtrousers, secateurs, sleigh bells, unicycle, water pump, petanque... The book was originally published in German, so does not have a New Zealand tone. However the illustrations are fresh and appealing, and the interested adult will pick up subtle flashes of humour tucked away here and there.
ISBN 978 1 877467 87 5 RRP $29.99
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman
A Kiwi Jingle Bells by Yvonne Morrison and Deborah Hinde, Scholastic NZ
This is the board book edition of the original 2006 version (over 35,000 copies printed). I have to admit I checked the last page to see if there was a CD there –but no. So you’re left to sing the numerous verses on your own. “Dashing to the bay, In a Kombi campervan, Christmas at the beach – The family’s master plan. Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, Christmas in New Zealand on a sunny summer’s day, ay!” This board book version is sturdy and a suitable size for small hands. Deborah Hinde’s illustrations are colourful and active and contain plenty of objects that a pre-schooler should recognise. If you’re looking for a Christmas-themed stocking-filler for your 2-year-old, you should check this one out.
ISBN 978 1 77543 045 2 RRP $13.50
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

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