Thursday, July 10, 2008

"Animals move in different ways."

A few years ago we took Z to Toys R Us and, for the first time, he picked out a book all on his own. This was Tails by Matthew Van Fleet. It is an adorable book that appeals to the youngest of toddlers because of the textures and flaps in the book. The animals are well-drawn and very cute. It has long staying power too as the kids learn some of the vocabulary of the book like "spiny" and "broad". After a while, though, we wanted something a bit more advanced.

We chose What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page. This book has an introductory page for each body part (i.e. nose) with five close-ups and then the next page has a one sentence description for each one that identifies each animal and what they do with their unique appendage. It has paper-cut illustrations that are quite stunning. Beware if you are squeamish though -- there are lovely tidbits such as the fact that horned lizards shoot blood out of their eyes. Oddly enough, it doesn't say why. (Wikipedia says that it's to confuse predators, if you were wondering.) When Z had this book memorized, we moved on to ...

Move!. This book is also by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page and has the same type of torn-paper illustrations. It gives an animal example for over a dozen types of movement. I think that it's great for a preschooler who is discovering their own body and their ability to move in different ways. After all, who doesn't want to try to "slither" when they hear that word?

This is how we find some of our kid books. We take something that we know Z already loves and then look for an older equivalent or a similar book about a different topic. And it never hurts to just pull your toddler's stroller up to the bookshelf and see what catches his or her eye.

Until next time,
K and Z

Buy Tails, What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? and Move! on Amazon or find them at your local library.

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