Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Read, Read, Read, said the Baby: A walk in the forest by Lisa Manuzak

I'm catching up on board books - I bought a bunch in August to fill in the board book section and I've also, slowly, been opening up a bit more to buying less sturdy titles with toy elements. I'm still careful to assess them for how quickly they will wear out or be damaged, but I'm starting to view this collection as more ephemeral, like magazines. We've also added a little bee sticker and the logo "busy books" to books with a toy element (lift the flap, sliding, wheel, etc.).

This title is produced for Smithsonian Kids and is an exploration of the forest. The book is large - about 8x8 inches - with a curved top and rounded edges. The top is cut out like a handle and also allows the wheels to spin. Each page includes multiple different sections of type. Across the curved handle is the simple narration, "Let's take a walk in a leafy green forest. We can look for animals, plants, and bugs." On the page itself are small chunks of text adding information, describing things in the picture, and giving suggestions for experiencing the forest. There are also captions on the animals and plants and a little "Did you know?" information box on every other page.

Each spread has a spinning wheel. The wheel is thin cardboard and has curved edges, making it easy to turn. The thick cardboard pages are tightly sealed around the edges, so the wheel can't be torn out or the pages pulled apart (hopefully). As you turn the wheel, different animals or plants appear in the picture. One wheel, that of birds in a tree, shows the bird at the top of the wheel and a caption on the turning part of the wheel. It's not designed quite right and bits of the birds show in the edges as you turn it, which could be an issue with kids trying to rip the window open to see the rest of the picture.

The art is colorful and cute, but mostly realistic and although a lot is included the scenes are not too crowded.

Verdict: This is overall a sturdy and fun book that can be used with children in many different ways, both talking and reading. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781680522365; Published December 2017 by Cottage Door Press; Purchased for the library

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