________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 19 . . . . January 20, 2012


Beaming Bright, You’re a Shining Light: Playful Journeys for Babies and Young Children.

Lynne Cox. Illustrated by Paul FitzZaland. Music by Connie Sanders.
Port Coquitlam, BC: Shining Light (www.shininglight.ca), 2010.
32 pp. (Includes audio CD), stapled, $16.00.
ISBN 978-0-9733577-5-2.

Birth-kindergarten / Ages 0-5.

Review by Keith McPherson.

** /4



Simply allow your imagination,
To take you far, far away;
To all the wonderful places,
Waiting for you today.

Hear me –
Feel me –
See me, shining in you!
I am the light that shines so bright,
Loving you, through and through

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.internal art

     The computer generated images are very colourful and would easily catch the eyes of very young children. They are imaginative, and, although some pages are busy, most images support, interpret and extend information written in each poem. Illustrations also convey a great deal of movement and action, and facial expressions on characters and animals support the very positive messages being conveyed. Coloured text is used to add colour to the pages, although occasionally colour choice (e.g., light green text on a dark green background) hampers text clarity. Colour blind preschool children will find it hard to read along with this coloured text.

     Verses are almost entirely constructed of four lines of paired rhymes (where the last word on every second line rhymes). Rhymes roll off the tongue naturally and are easy to read and read with emotion. Many verses are very abstract and may be difficult for young children to understand. For example:

Enjoy all your wishes and dreams,
As you learn and grow.
Believe in yourself, and then just trust.
And soon you’ll start to know.

That when the time is right for you,
And for dreams to be;
They will appear before your eyes.
So real for you to see.

          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.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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