CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 13 . . . . February 16, 2007
These two new titles in the “What's That Sound” board book series are excellent introductions to descriptive sound words as well as springboards to discussions about the circus and the sea - both of which may be novel situations for toddlers.
Though the text in these 16-page books is spare, at one line per page, it is powerful and interesting. The first two words in each book are “Hey, listen!”, an attention grabbing command if ever there was one. The sound words encourage the reader to SQUEAK or HOWWWWL along with whatever might be squeaking or howling on that particular page. McFarlane is able to keep the scenes moving along without being overly descriptive - the acrobats, for example, have: "Spotlight, DRUM ROLLLLLL, look up high --- High flying pass, GASP then SIGH" written below their outstretched arms. This allows both for a lovely rhyme and an opportunity for toddlers and readers to talk about what those people are doing up there on their flying trapezes.
The illustrations in these two books are wonderful. LaFave has created eye-catching and colourful pictures with just enough detail to stimulate questions and discussion. This is a fine balance - too many details may overwhelm smaller readers, and too few can lose the older ones. He manages to get it exactly right. LaFave does a great job of capturing the excitement of the big top in At the Circus, with coloured spotlights highlighting the different acts. The constant wind of the seaside is suggested in By the Sea, with blowing hair and billowing sails.
These two books with their rollicking rhymes, loving endings, interesting illustrations, and invitations to cozy conversations are sure to be sought out whenever it is time for a good read.
Grace Sheppard is currently on maternity leave from her position as a Children's Librarian with the Ottawa Public Library in Ottawa, ON.
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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.