Children's Book ReviewsThe Internet Writing Journal
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By Nancy Littlejohn
Boats by Byron BartonHarperFestival, May 1998.
Board Book, 31 pages.
Boats is another example of a classic picture book being reintroduced in the board book format making for both greater durability and portability. Barton's books are classics not just because they are still in print, but also because of their simple yet artistic illustrations and their effective use of a few words to tell a good story. Children love these books! In Boats we start out on the water, move to a person rowing a rowboat, then a sailboat (note the hilarious hair on the passenger) with the rowboat in the background, then a motorboat speeding by with the sailboat in the background. A fireboat comes along to put out a fire while the speedboat rushes by the scene. A ferryboat enters the picture while the fireboat is still working on the fire, and then a fishing boat heads out to sea passing the ferryboat. A cruise ship enters the harbor passing the fishing boat with its' nets out. A tugboat comes along to help the cruise ship dock. Workers load the ship and people go on board. Friends wave good-bye, throw confetti and the cruise ship sails away disappearing into the distance. This is an appropriate book for children of many ages from young toddlers being read to by adults to kindergartners or first graders who might be able to read it themselves. Adults can talk about the boats and point out how they are different from large to small and from manpowered craft to giant ships with big engines and lots of passengers. Children will enjoy spotting the overlapping of the boats in the illustrations as well as the intense, deep color Barton uses. There's a lot to experience in this multi-layered book. Have fun pretending you are one of the passengers out on the deep, blue sea.
How A Baby Grows by Nola Buck, Pictures by Pamela PaparoneHarperFestival, June 1998.
Board Book, 14 pages.
Yeah! Another bright red cover to grab your baby's attention! Even better, on this bright red cover there's a precious baby reaching out to you and yours inviting you to open up this colorful board book and come on in for some cozy fun together. Inside are lots of darling multi-cultural babies doing things that babies do with a delightful rhyming text accompanying their antics. Besides babies, there are familiar objects that you can point out to your little one or have him/her point out to you. Each page has a different background color so everytime you turn one a new look is presented. I loved the perfect details that parents and babies will identify with like Cheerios all over the floor around the high chair or the baby with one shoe off and one shoe on. (Do babies ever have both shoes on at the same time?) It's a great "starter" book with hours of potential reading pleasure. Enjoy!
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