CM . . . .
Volume V Number 8 . . . . December 11, 1998
One teddy bear riding on the train...This trio of books, each part of the "A Very First Picture Book" series, are alike in format. Large, coloured photographs of real children and objects are placed on white backgrounds and are accompanied by brief text consisting of a mixture of short declarative, interrogative and exclamatory sentences. Each book is organized about the theme suggested by its title. In turn, the nine pairs of facing pages found in each book deal with an aspect of the larger topic. For example, in Splish, Splash, children can be found involved in such familiar ventures as washing a toy car, bathing, watering flowers, and soaking Mum. The children in Messy create their clutter and disorder via engaging in activities like finger painting, unwrapping presents and eating. Teddy Bears and their human friends play hide'n'seek, have picnics and read to each other. The children used as "models" appear to range in age from crawlers and toddlers to perhaps those about four or five years of age. Both genders are represented, and the youngsters portrayed are from a variety of races. While the books were originally published in the United Kingdom, the only obvious identifier of their origins is a single reference to the light meal,"tea," in Messy.
Children with well developed small motor control should be able to turn the books' heavy paper pages independently. Tykes should enjoy looking at the pictures and vicariously sharing in the playful activities.
Dave Jenkinson, who owned a Teddy Bear, now teaches children's literature courses in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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