Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Best Books of 2009: Pouch, Life-size Zoo, and Oh No! Time to Go!

It's that time of year again, and your friendly neighborhood librarians are eager to tell you about the best books of 2009. Here is Andrea with a review of her favorite children's books of the year.

Pouch, by David Stein, is a book meant for the littlest lap-listeners. You watch a baby kangaroo venture forth from his mom’s pouch and discover the world. He gets scared and runs for the safety of mom but keeps leaving to try again. His face reminds me of how my toddlers looked when they wanted to boldly go where no toddler had been before – as long as they could still see me close at hand. And just like kids do, the little joey finds friends, and learns that the world away from mom isn’t that scary one you get to know it.

Life-size Zoo by Kristin Earhart is a book full of beautiful detailed pictures and great factoids. The best thing about the pictures are that they are, indeed, life-size. A whole rhino won’t fit, so the fold-out page is just of one’s head. The fold-out of the giraffe’s neck really makes concrete just how long one is. And the smaller animals, like the meerkat, were fantastic, too. The written details are a little skimpy for a report but great for casual reading.

Oh no! Time to go! by Rebecca Doughty is a great example of multi-cultural representation done right. The focus is on the sadness of leaving that everyone feels, so the diversity doesn’t feel heavy handed – I’ve had to read books where the author was so busy being PC that they forgot to add a story. People with different skin colors, different abilities, from diverse locations in the United States, and even other species all say “good bye” to the narrator of the book. The author respects the right of the child to feel that sadness; yet, without trying to jolly the kid out of it, she is able to leave the reader feeling open to new “hello’s” by the end.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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6-7 8-9 from Reading Rockets @burbankliteracy on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/burbankliteracy