CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 32. . . .April 19, 2013
Infants and toddlers who are just being introduced to books first met Checkers and Dot and their pets, Spot the dog and Stripesey the cat, in Checkers and Dot, and then they went with the siblings on their first “adventure” as the pair visited a zoo in Checkers and Dot at the Zoo. Now, two more books take the children to the beach and to a farm.
Using a rhyming text, Checkers and Dot at the Beach is actually a first counting book which, via facing pages, introduces the numbers from 1 to 5. While the objects to count are quite clear, the brief text is not always in concert with the text. The opening page reads:
The illustration shows the book’s four characters waving at readers, but the two pets are not shown in the order the text sets out. In the pages related to the numbers 3 and 4, a human or animal character is mentioned, but that character is not found in the illustration. Such an approach is acceptable for most of the book’s audience range, but, as anyone who has played Peek-a-boo with very young children can tell you, if it can’t be seen, for that child, it then doesn’t exist.
Checkers and Dot on the Farm finds the quartet on a farm where they encounter a cow, horse, five chickens and a duck. The cow moos and the chickens cluck, but the sound associated with the horse is that of its chewing hay while the grumpy duck shouts, “IT’S TOO LOUD IN HERE!” Adding to the barn’s sounds are Spot’s “BOW WOW WOW” and STRIPESEY’S “MEOW MEOW MEOW.” Undoubtedly, most adult readers will fill in the missing sounds that are normally associated with a horse and a duck.
The board books’ short lengths and simple storylines, along with Lum’s black and white illustrations, make the titles in the “Checkers and Dot” series a good starting point for children just being introduced to the world of print.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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