CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 1 . . . .September 2, 2005
Wide awake, baby?
Using playful verse and repetition, Sheree Fitch introduces the English alphabet to babies from around the world. Attractive and well-designed, this concept alphabet book will entice parents to share the learning game with their toddlers.
Each page is devoted to a letter, pictured as a large graphic capital, and a four-line stanza ending with "Peek-a-Little Boo!" Beneath the verse are the upper and lower case letters, as well as a baby's name and noun that begin with the specific letter. The illustrations, which occupy three quarters of each page, feature close-ups of the multiracial babies and nouns chosen to represent that letter. For example, 'Isra's ice cream' shows a Thai child licking a large cone, and 'Questa's quilt' depicts a laughing baby peeking from under a quilt. There is no pronunciation guide to the unfamiliar names, but each name's meaning and country of origin are given on the final page.
Sheree's trademark poetic lip-slipperiness is more restrained in this early literacy book, but she grants licence to parental silliness and her slightly uneven rhymes will easily glide off the tongue. Little ones will delight in the predictable nature of the repeating last line and will doubtlessly join in the reciting. A first book for illustrator Laura Watson, she has chosen to use colourful acrylics in expansive close-ups rather than drawing detailed facial features. It has been noted that very young children are sometimes uncomfortable with bodies not shown in their entirety, and the close-ups of partial babies, in particular the one of a baby's torso and toes without a head, may cause consternation for those children. Most children, however, will respond to this playful book with delighted giggles and wiggles, especially if the implicit invitation to tickle and cuddle while reading is indulged.
Alison Mews is the Coordinator of the Curriculum Materials Centre, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of NF, St. John's, NF.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.