Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Read, Read, Read, said the Baby: Whatever the Weather by Carol Thompson

 I am completely in love with this new series of board books from Child's Play.

There are four titles in Carol Thompson's Whatever the Weather series, each featuring a diverse cast of happy toddlers enjoying the weather.

Rain shows a small child and her stuffed toy as a big gray cloud forms overhead. Rain pours down and her emotions shift from bewilderment to surprise to delight as she splashes in the puddles. When the rain stops, the puddles are still there for her (and her now dripping toy) to enjoy, complete with a rainbow. There is a very simple, limited vocabulary "Rain  drops. Plip plop. Drip drop, plip plop."

 In the opposite number, Sun, a happy group of toddlers experiences the delights of a sunny day in summer. A big yellow sun is repeated in the illustrations on each page. The adorably plump, multi-hued babies put on their sun hats and sunscreen, take off their clothes, splash in their wading pools, and dance in the sunset, repeating the mini sun artwork waved by one girl on the first page. In the final spread, one toddler is shown in a walker with an oxygen tube - I think this is the first time I've ever seen a child with a disability depicted in a board book. Toddlers will love this one, with the lovely colors and textures of the hats and other props and happy babies cavorting on each page. Don't forget to talk about the shadows and look to find your own!

Snow is a warm tribute to Keats' classic, Snowy Day, featuring a curly-haired toddler excitedly experiencing the wonder of winter. Looking out the window in his yellow pajamas, he exuberantly yells "Snow!" then puts on his red jacket, white hat with bobble, and the rest of his snow clothes to go outside. He slides and falls in the snow, admires his crunching footprints and cloudy breath, then builds a whole bench of "snow monsters" complete with stick arms and faces. Chilly, he goes inside and waves goodnight to his snow monsters from the window.

While most toddlers won't recognize the tribute to Keats, parents will chuckle over the gentle reminders and enjoy this toddler-appropriate version of the classic tale.

The final book in this series, Wind, is my favorite. I love windy days and the group of happy toddlers clearly join me in this delight. The first spread show four giggling babies and a dog, all with wild, blowing hair (or ears!). On the following pages, the wind blows away hats, ruffles hair, whooshes dandelions and pinwheels, until finally, on the final spread, it quiets and a little girl, with a leaf in her hair, peacefully looks down at a now still pinwheel.

The pages are full of the exciting, whooshing wind, with spinning leaves and bits of paper, flapping clothes, and happy, delighted toddlers, enjoying the wild and windy weather

Thompson's art is full of soft, vibrant colors and interesting shapes. The sweet, colorful drawings, reminiscent of Helen Oxenbury, are given additional dimension with collage. Brightly colored bits of paper make leaves, a sun, snow, and speckled black and white birth tree trunks.

Each book is six pages long, laid out in a sturdy 7x7 inch square. They're an affordable $5 and perfect for toddlers who are just beginning to explore the world around them. This was my first introduction to Carol Thompson's board books and I loved them so much I went back and found several other titles she's done to add to our board book collection as well - Snug, Blankies, and Little Movers (series).

Verdict: These are the perfect addition to your board book section; they would work well as read-alouds for a small lapsit storytime or one-on-one reading. The diverse cast is just one more bonus for these delightful books that toddlers are sure to love. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9781846436833

ISBN: 9781846436802

ISBN: 9781846436819

ISBN: 9781846436826

Published 2015 by Child's Play; Review copies provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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