CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 19 . . . . January 20, 2012
Beaming Bright, You’re a Shining Light is a collection of verse poems that the author explains as being designed to help very young children feel connected and loved, while helping them develop a positive self-esteem. The collection contains eleven poems speaking on a myriad of themes ranging from self relaxation to appreciating nature. The book comes with a CD containing audio of the author reading each poem to synthesized keyboard music.
Titles of all the poems are listed in the book’s table of contents and cross referenced with the main theme underlying each poem. This cross reference is very handy for early childhood educators and parents looking for a poem on a specific topic. Page numbers would have aided in readers more quickly locating each poem. Additionally, the list of titles and themes covers nine topics with one introductory and concluding poem. Topics are developmentally appropriate and include creativity, growing, loving myself, nature, dreaming, joy, being unique, being different, and appreciating oneself and others.
Thus, the ultimate goal of the authors (to help children feel connected, accepted and loved) may not be accomplished as intended.
The attached CD comes with each poem read by the author to music composed and played by Connie Sanders. All of the music is electronically keyboarded and played at a fairly slow pace. Combined with a fairly even toned slow speech of the author, all of the readings come across as plodding lullabies. Although these slow, steady readings can be used by parents and daycare workers to put their tired young charges to sleep, they will likely not engage listeners wishing to hear poetry containing lively and varied vocal expression
Adults will find themselves quickly tiring of the relative steady tone of the reader’s voice. The CD would have been much more engaging if only a couple of poems were read with different vocal inflections, and/or the rest were read with a melody that followed, accentuated, or was accentuated by, the background music. Additionally, poems that held promise for more up beat reading or singing (such as “Flashing Light”) could have used some more vocal intonation, emotion and musicality. However, daycare workers looking to add such ‘upbeatness’ to these poems would only have to read them out loud adding their own inflection and melody.
Beaming Bright, You’re a Shining Light is a collection of poems geared to developing positive self-esteem in the very young. They are best read by parents and preschool daycare workers who can add much more inflection and emotion to the poems than that read by the author on the attached CD (unless one’s goal is to used the attached CD to put your child/children to sleep). A resource that preschool teachers and parents will want to consider, especially if developing a child’s/children’s positive self-esteem is a central objective.
Recommended with reservations.
Keith McPherson has been an elementary teacher and teacher-librarian in BC since 1984, and he is currently a lecturer for the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia.
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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.