Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Read, Read, Read said the Baby: How Hippo says Hello by Abigail Samoun, illustrated by Sarah Watts

This is a cool idea, but I'm not sure that a board book was the best format. The first page says "When Hippo says 'Hello!'..." and then the following pages each introduce a different greeting "He says 'Bonjour!' in France" etc. Each spread has the greeting (with pronunciation) on one side on a solid color background and an image of Hippo in an activity in the corresponding country. In India he rides an elephant, in France he eats at a cafe, in Japan he greets a number of traditionally dressed animals with paper umbrellas, etc. The final spread shows "Hippo's Travel Map!" with all the places he visited marked.

The art is cute and chunky, with smiling anthropomorphic animals and a little red bird to find in every picture. It's not exactly pastel, but has a soft, blurry feeling to it. It's a traditional board book shape, about six inches square.

Verdict: I feel like a lot of board books are too complex for the babies/toddlers who should ideally be using them. On the one hand, it's a good idea to introduce other languages to children at a young age and the pictures are cute and attractive. On the other hand, is a baby or toddler really going to understand the concept of foreign languages and countries? This seems, on the whole, to be a book directed at more of a preschool/parent audience.

ISBN: 9781454908203; Published 2014 by Sterling; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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