Friday, February 03, 2012

Picture Book: At this Very Moment

This sophistocated concept book is an interesting read for early elementary school kids. It relates a child's self-centred concept of time to the idea of universal time.

The "at this very moment" refrain links a child's daily activities to the exotic actions of animals far away. For example, "The moment you are waking up...somewhere in the early light, there's a band of sheep following their leader, walking in a line, on a steep and narrow trail along a mountain spine."

Similar verses connect time at school, eating dinner, and falling asleep to the activities of animals in the wild. Although the idea is lovely, and the art beautiful, the complex idea contemporaneous activities really requires an adult as mediator between the text and the child.

I would definitely recommend this title as a peaceful way for an older preschooler to connect with nature, but the message would be lost without an adult to explain and extend the ideas. It would be best suited as a class read-aloud, with a corresponding art/literacy project where kids create their own "at this very moment" books.

Picture Book
Grades k-3
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Wordless Picture Book: Bow-wow Bugs a Bug

Older preschoolers will love this book so much they won't even notice that they're learning about mapping and graphic novel conventions.

Bow-wow is irritated by a tiny black bug from the moment he wakes up. He follows the bug out the dog door, down the street, and right into trouble!

When he runs into a pack of giant dogs (and a corresponding pack of giant bugs!) Bow-wow decides it's time to turn tail, and run for home.

The elements of whimsy and surrealism in this book make it best suited for ages 4-5. There's lots to discover in the relationships between big and small, same and different. Kids will love pointing out the fantastical elements of this title.

Wordless Picture Book
Ages 4-6
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Graphic Novel: Nina in That Makes Me Mad!

Preschoolers and kindergarten kids will immediately identify with the things that make Nina mad.

"When you get mad at me and I didn't do it..."

"When you don't let me help..."

"When I try and it doesn't work..."

Each of these utterly common situations is illustrated with a cartoon-format, one-page spread. Nina's family are a typical busy bunch, with a baby brother and two harried parents doing the best they can. Nina's expressions and feelings are spot-on, and any parent will recognize the signs of mounting frustration, and impending tantrums.

It's very unusual to find a graphic/cartoon title for the preschool set, and this one does an excellent job of introducing the genre. At the back of the book, there's a parent section on how to read comics with kids: helpful suggestions include guiding young readers in interpreting text, pointing out comic style features, like speech bubbles, and allowing kids lots of time to read, re-read, and guess what's happening next based on the illustrations.

A good first introduction to graphica, excellent for ages 4-5.

Graphic Novel
Ages 4-5
Click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's catalogue!