CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 1. . . .September 2, 2011
I See Me.
Penticton, BC: Theytus Books, 2010.
14 pp., board, $6.95.
Preschool / Birth-age 3.
Review by Dave Jenkinson.
I see me ROLL.
I see me CRAWL.
I See Me is a perfect beginning board book. Its brevity of content and small physical size make it ideal for a youngster's short attention span and limited physical dexterity. Each page of the seven pairs of facing pages features a photograph of the same child who appears to be under the age of one as s/he is not yet walking. The child's activities on the facing pages are related, being either opposites (I see me AWAKE./ I see me ASLEEP.) or complementary (I see me ROLL./I see me CRAWL.)
Two aspects of I See Me differentiate it from other board books. Firstly, I See Me is published by Theytus Books, a publishing house whose salish name means "preserving for the sake of handing down." On its website, Theytus Books describes itself as follows:
As the oldest Indigenous publishing house in Canada, Theytus Books is recognized and respected internationally for its contributions to Aboriginal literature. Since its inception in 1980, Theytus Books has been a leading proponent for Indigenous authors, illustrators and artists. It ensures that their voice and vision are expressed with the highest level of cultural authenticity and integrity.
To reinforce the child’s First Nations’ heritage, s/he has been photographed in what appears to be a birchbark cradle board (I see me ASLEEP.) and is later shown playing with a “traditional” homemade rattle and drum (I see me RATTLE. /I see me DRUM.).
Secondly, on each page an "empty" line has been inserted under the single line of text that acts as a caption for the full-colour photograph. An explanation of this line's purpose is provided on the book's back cover: "A blank line appears under each English caption so parents may write the word in their own language." [i.e. the "word" that completes each "I see me...." statement].
My one small criticism of I See Me involves the book's closing pair of pages whose texts read: "I see me HUG./I see me KISS. In both instances, the only adult involved in these activities is the child's mother.
I See Me would make a superb home purchase. As well, it's a book that should be in all library collections serving this age group.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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