Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Read, Read, Read, said the Baby: At the beach by Elizabeth Spurr, illustrated by Manelle Oliphant

If you thought all my reviews were going to be positive, THINK AGAIN. Oh Peachtree. I do love, love, love their nonfiction, but so often their fiction just seems to fall short. This is part of a trilogy showing a child in the natural world. Each page has a few individual words or a simple sentence that combines to create simple rhymes "Sun Sky/Shore Boy/Sand Pail/Spade Toy". Some of the word choices felt odd to me - I don't think I've heard kids use "spade" anymore, will they understand that the pail of sand is "baking" in the sun?

The main reason I didn't like this was the illustrations. Frankly, that kid is creepy. The images are static and he looks more like a posed doll than a live child. The sketchy backgrounds and crosshatching seem like they'd make it difficult for a very young child to focus and the story doesn't offer much scope for interaction with an older child. Overall, I felt the art looked amateurish and lifeless.

Verdict: There are fans of this series, but I wouldn't add it to my library. I prefer playBac's Eyelike Nature series (now sadly out of print) or something with more lively illustrations or photographs.

ISBN: 9781561455836; Published 2013 by Peachtree; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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