These four pairs of fingers-friendly books provide the youngest children plenty of opportunities to explore and learn about their surroundings and themselves.
Stephen Krensky and Sara Gillingham’s I Can Do It Myself! and Now I Am Big! board books celebrate the increasing independence of toddlers and their pride in accomplishment. In I Can Do It Myself!, a little girl picks out her own clothes, blows her nose, eats, etc. In Now I Am Big!, a little boy presents before-and-after scenarios: “I used to be shy. / Now I am brave.” Gillingham’s retro illustrations add a sweetly nostalgic feel to Krensky’s rhyming texts. (2–4 years, Abrams/Abrams Appleseed)
I Say, You Say Animal Sounds! and its companion volume I Say, You Say Opposites! (both by Tad Carpenter) are fun participatory texts with oversize gatefolds. The art is colorful, though not always realistic (in Animal Sounds, the lion’s grassland is purple, and the duck’s green pond is situated on a field of blue grass), but this whimsical break from realism won’t detract from the pleasure of the shared reading experience these books afford readers. (2–4 years, Little/LB Kids)
These Flip the Flap & Find Out books introduce very basic science concepts to preschoolers. Who Lives Here? asks readers to figure out what animal (out of four choices) lives in a particular kind of habitat. The animal is then revealed on the following page. What Happens Next? is a study both of animal behavior and of cause and effect. In both volumes, Marc Boutavant’s illustrations are well cued to Nicola Davies’s content, depicting scene-setting scientific details while enhancing the fun of discovery. (2–4 years, Candlewick)
Tom Slaughter’s Boat Works: A Giant Fold-Out Book and Simms Taback’s Dinosaurs: A Giant Fold-Out Book are guessing-game books. Starting with a question on the left (Boat Works asks, “What am I?”; Dinosaurs asks, “Who am I?”) and a clue on the right, the right-hand page then folds out to reveal another piece of the picture and a second clue. A final fold reveals the answer in a gloriously large seventeen-inch square. Boat Works is bright and geometric, while Dinosaurs features Taback’s characteristic naive art with thick black lines. (2–4 years, Blue Apple)
From the February 2013 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.