Posts tagged ‘imaginative play’

January 3, 2011

As a mom, I think I’m more the dirt than the backhoe

But still, this is a great book. Most books from Tricycle Press are, in fact. I love their Eco Babies, Foodie Babies series and their ethnic food series. So I wasn’t surprised to love this one, too.

Title: I Am A Backhoe
: Anna Grossnickle Hines
: Picture Book
:0 – 7

Summary and Review:

So, I knew only two things about this book before buying it: the title and the fact that it was on the Kirkus Book Review 2010 list.  But in reality, I only needed to know the title.  I gave it to my son approximately four hours ago, and despite the fact that we’ve been out of the house for two of those hours, we’ve still managed to read it over six times.  The seventh reading is currently in progress upstairs as Dad does bedtime.  He LOVES this book.  And so do I.  The text is simple yet elegant–perfectly written and edited.  The illustrations are also great.  They are simple, but with brightly brilliant backgrounds that rainbow throughout the book.  The book, as you would imagine by the title, focuses on a boy who pretends to be various construction vehicles.  It emphasizes, with its pictures and words, the actions he takes–digging with his hands to be a backhoe or rolling on the floor to be a roller.

I also like it because the parent character is a dad.  Some would say that it’s sexist to have a truck book with just a son and a dad, but so many picture books are all about the moms, and it’s nice to see a good role model dad in there.  And as for being sexist, well, I just don’t know.  I tagged this book in the category “mostly boys”.  It’s not that I don’t think girls would like it, or that you shouldn’t buy it for a girl.  But I do think there is some kind of magical bond between small boys and construction vehicles that isn’t necessarily there for girls.  And that’s just my way of saying that this is a very typically boy book.  It’s up to you if you want to buy typically boy books for your boys or your girls.

Follow-up with the kids:

Books, TV shows, and anything else that encourages physical movement is really in right now, for obvious reasons if you’ve read any of the studies on childhood obesity.  I’m not sure if that was part of the author’s intentions, but it’s there.  This book encourages physical movement, creativity, imagination, play, and family interaction.  All good things.  Get down and dirty!

September 13, 2010

Is there anything as exciting as a cardboard box? This kid wouldn’t think so.

Title: The Birthday Box
Author: Leslie Patricelli
: Picture book
Age: 0 – 6

Summary and Review:

I love this book.  It’s quite possibly my favorite picture book.  (I know, I know, I’ve said that about other books.  But this one, well, just take a look at it for yourself.)  The pictures are wonderfully cute and spare.  The writing is just as spare, eloquent in just a few words, which takes great talent.  But the best part is simply the kid himself–a kid who unwraps his birthday present to find a cardboard box–and he’s so excited!  It’s a airplane!  A boat!  A robot costume!  A great place to take a nap–which he takes (and I love this part) with the stuffed dog he later finds inside the box.  Not even considering for a moment that the dog was the actual present, the boy simply gives the dog a name and excitedly shows him the box.  Brilliant.  Genius.  I could read it over and over again.  (And I do.)

Possible conversations to have with your kids:

No, no, no.  Don’t have a conversation.  Just get out a cardboard box and have fun.  Decorate it, cut it, get inside of it.  Copy the activities of the boy in the book or come up with your own.  My guess is that your child will teach you as much about what the box is as you will.  Just have fun!

And while the whole point is to use a plain box and your imagination, for another time, I encourage you to check out one of my favorite kid websites (Green Party Goods), which has recycled (and recyclable) play structures made out of cardboard.  No giant plastic thing in your living room.  And when they are down with it, it goes in the recycling….