Angie Dorrell, M. She is the proud mother of two young daughters. Activities for Outcome-Based Learning. Topics In Early Childhood Education. Art and Creativity in Early Childhood Education. The Reading Corner. Teaching Children with Special Needs.
Job Sharing Board. State Licensing Requirements. Subscribe today to our bi-weekly newsletter! Choosing and Using Books with Young Children. What Is It? This author has many board books perfect for babies and toddlers with simple, brightly colored photographs of real objects. The gentle and lulling text and gradually darkening pictures make this a favorite book as we tell everything in the room good night. A lyrical book with beautiful illustrations follows numerous adult animals as they tuck their animal babies in for the night. Real photographs of a lot of different animals are in a sturdy board book format.
What Makes a Good Baby Shower Book?
This author has a series of small board books that fit perfectly in little hands. Real photographs of youngsters in various situations or with simple objects interest babies. A simple story highlighting the wonders of the earth in a board book format make this book perfect for infants. This little girl enjoys counting down to bedtime. This book is made of sturdy cardstock for durability and explores the concept of parents and babies through the animal world. This delightful lift-the-flap book follows a baby through her first year of life and her experience with each season.
The repetitive rhyme, detailed illustrations, and board book format are a favorite for toddlers. This is a favorite book about a caterpillar that eats his way through a week of food before becoming a butterfly. Complex concept, alphabet, and counting books also serve older children well. Not only do books for babies encourage play with the content, the books themselves are also part of the play. For that reason the bookshelf becomes an extension of the toy box.
Sturdy board books are best for babies to enjoy themselves. Rounded corners prevent poking accidents, the slick surfaces can be wiped clean, the books tend to stay open at one place, and the heavy tag board pages are easier for those chubby fingers to turn. Some former trade books transfer nicely to a board book format. Often, though, features are lost in the transfer. The Carrot Seed misses a page turn in board book format.
But beware. Although youngsters may view books as products, the authors and artists never should. Do you stumble on the words? Do you pause to really look at the illustrations?
Is there some opportunity for interaction? Clearly, one could break the bank with all these books! Some baby shower attendees can afford to; others will need to choose wisely from the wide variety of books available — rhymes, stories, quiet books, rowdy books, interactive books, concept books, early narratives. A group of people might want to throw a baby book shower and combine all of these. Consequently, a book aimed at parental selection is always a good idea for inclusion. Reading aloud with a child has inherent educational value. Increasing vocabulary, supporting syntactic awareness, expanding conceptual understanding, and adding to general background knowledge are just a few bonuses babies receive from hearing and examining books.
Our shower gift suggestions, however, are not made so that eighteen years from now, these babies can get into Harvard. As book lovers, we want babies to know the joy of reading. This experience is a prime opportunity for reinforcing the emotional connection that is important to both members of the reading pair — the child and the grownup. And just think, this lifetime of literary pleasure can start right here — at the baby shower.
As an addendum to this column, we asked several Horn Book reviewers to tell us about a book they found indispensable as new parents. Read these short pieces here. Harcourt by Karen Beaumont; illus. Thanks for sharing the wonderful list..
The Complete Mother Goose: Rhymes and Jingles – The Gold Scales
Lear's humor produced ridiculous people and situations and equally funny drawings. In much the same spirit, Charles Dodgson, a distinguished mathematician and university scholar, began telling stories to three little girls. One of them was named Alice. These stories were published in as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland under the pen name Lewis Carroll.
Alice goes down a rabbit hole, where she shrinks to the height of a flower, meets the Cheshire cat, nearly drowns in her own tears, and takes part in a mad tea party. Nonsense is spoken with great seriousness, and foolish doings multiply. Alice's adventures were continued in Through the Looking-Glass , published in Both books were illustrated by Sir John Tenniel, a cartoonist for Punch , London's magazine of humor.
The illustrations of Lear and Tenniel were black-and-white line drawings. These artists used pen and ink to make sharp lines that could be easily printed. Almost all books of that day were printed in black and white only. In the 's, Edmund Evans, an English printer, became interested in bringing out inexpensive children's books with fine color illustrations. Evans planned them for very young children—the nursery-school age.
The first of these "toy books," as Evans called them, were nursery rhymes illustrated by Walter Crane, a fine wood engraver. Crane used flat colors and bold black lines. Another artist with whom Evans worked was Kate Greenaway. In he brought out a book of verses that she had written and illustrated, Under the Window. Greenaway's drawings had a style of their own. In soft pastels, they showed sweet children in old-fashioned clothes, with birds and blossoms surrounding them.
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Many Kate Greenaway books for children followed. At the same time, Randolph Caldecott was becoming known for his cartoons and sketches in English magazines and newspapers.
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Edmund Evans added Caldecott to his team of artists, and more "toy books" were under way. Caldecott spent part of his youth in the country. There he absorbed the sights and sounds of fox hunts, cattle fairs, and countryfolk. All of these show up in his drawings. They are done in simple, vigorous lines full of movement and sly humor.
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The best-loved Caldecott books are the nursery rhymes. In tribute to the artist, the Caldecott Medal is awarded annually for the most distinguished picture book for children published in the United States that year. Randolph Caldecott brought new life and movement into the drawings for children's books. His people run and dance and leap.
Their faces show delight and anger. Even the animals seem as real as the dog next door. This was the beginning of greater realism in both stories and illustration in books for children. The new authors did not write about children who were as stiff as wood and either too good to be true or too bad. Instead, they began to create flesh-and-blood characters who had their strong points and their weak points. These characters laughed and cried and loved and hated, as living people do.
A landmark in this development was Louisa May Alcott's Little Women , published in two volumes and in Boston. The story tells of the everyday ups and downs of the four teenage March sisters. This heartwarming book was based on the author's experiences in her own family. In spite of their poverty, they each lived lives rich in imagination and individuality. Realism in children's books went even further when Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published in Poor folk and strange, shady characters from "across town" lived in Tom's world.
Tom was from a "respectable" family. But his best friend Huck was the son of the town drunkard. The boys had some remarkable experiences. They witnessed a grave robbery and saw a murder being committed. They even attended their own funeral. These adventures were not the kind previously found in books for children.
The sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , was told in the rough river-town language of Huck himself. Both books give details of the rugged Mississippi River life as it was in those days. Poetry for children has gone through similar changes. The earliest poems were rhyming verses with a definite moral purpose. Then, in , came a book of truly lyrical poetry singing the joys of childhood in a world sustained by love.
These poems are still widely read, usually more by adults than by children. The children in Stevenson's poem climb trees, play with their shadows, go up in swings, and have a joyous time. There are no morals in these poems and no frightening warnings. There is only the invitation to enjoy each moment to the fullest. Literature for children in the United States expanded dramatically in the 's. The growth of paperback publishing meant that more books were available. A good children's paperback could have the same lovely illustrations that were used in the hardcover edition.
The price was also considerably lower. In this period, distribution of children's books grew because of the tremendous increase of school libraries where children could easily borrow books on a regular basis. At the same time, paperback book clubs swept the country. These clubs enabled children to buy their own low-cost paperbacks right in the classroom.
As children's literature grew in the number of books published and the quantity distributed, certain trends developed. Among these were the popularity of the picture book, growing realism in the stories, and the appeal of imaginative literature or fantasy. In most of the earliest books for children, the illustrations were an afterthought. But in the Caldecott "toy books," the pictures were as important as the few lines of copy. They also occupied far more space. One can almost read the nursery rhyme from the dramatic action in the pictures. Since that time hundreds of highly successful picture books have been published in England and the United States.
In these the text and illustrations seem to go together perfectly. Many equally successful picture books have been produced by an author-artist team. Wordless picture books also became popular in this period. With a little help, a 3- or 4-year-old could follow the sequence of the pictures and tell the story they suggested. A delightful example of the wordless picture book is Sunshine , created by Jan Ormerod. For many appealing picture-books, American publishers have drawn on artists from other countries.
These artists have brought great diversity to American children's book illustration. They have also sharpened interest in original, imaginative work. Realism has grown bolder and more widespread since —even for the picture-book age. One vivid example is Apt. In picture-book format with superb illustrations, it tells of two lonely boys and a blind man in an ugly tenement. Equally piercing are those stories that hinge on the breakup of a family and the struggle children make to adjust. In Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt, four children are abandoned by their mother.
They make their way from Connecticut to southern Maryland to seek a home with an unknown grandmother. In Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, a year-old writes in letters and his journal of his frustrations over his parents' recent divorce.
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There are some splendid books of nonfiction that also deal with such situations. It is a collection of actual reports of nineteen youngsters, ages 7 to Their comments are very revealing. Old age and death have become more frequent topics in children's books as well. In Maxie by Mildred Kantrowitz, apartment house neighbors gather to help the old woman upstairs who feels unloved and unneeded.
Often it is a grandmother or grandfather who is seen to be failing physically. It is the tale of a little Navajo girl who finds she cannot prevent the death of her aged grandmother. A Taste of Blackberries by Doris Buchanan Smith tells the story of a boy's death from bee stings and the grief and feeling of guilt that hang over his friend. And in Bridge to Terabithia , Katherine Paterson writes of the beautiful companionship of two children that is shattered by death. For some children, parents are a problem, too, especially those parents whose plans and expectations put the child in an unhappy situation.
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Manolo, the son of a famous Spanish bullfighter, is in that predicament in Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska. Few children are expected to become famous bullfighters. But they understand Manolo's problem and admire his revolt against adult demands. In Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers, a year-old wakes up one Friday to find she is her own mother, saddled with the problems common to all mothers. Parent-child conflicts are thus seen from a new perspective. Despite the growing realism in children's books, few have shown an accurate picture of our multiracial society in the United States.