367 Following


You kids get off my lawn. 

Not a Box - Antoinette Portis I checked this out of the library based on Abigail's review and later comments wondering if this concept would work for the kiddies. I have some kiddies to do some reading 'speriments on, so I did that. Abigail puts this much better than I will, but the book is a call and response between an unseen adult and a bunny-ish child playing with a box. What are you doing with that box? A picture of a bunny holding a hose aimed at the box. It's not a box. The same image, now with superimposed crayon lines drawing the windows of a building on the box, the hose putting out the crayon fire, a jaunty firefighter's hat on the child-rabbit's head. The art is clean and simple, and it reminded me of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Pigeon is also a broken fourth wall conversation between reader and cute book animal, though the parts the reader is to understood to be saying are all implied. In Pigeon, the child-reader gets to tell someone no repeatedly, and that will always appeal to someone whose life is a long series of noes. Can I take my DS outside? No. Can my obnoxious friend come in and we wreck the basement? No.) So, not a book for 8 year olds, at least according to my hyper-scientific sampling of one.

The girl, 4, now this was a different story. She completely understood the concept, and kept telling me things about how it worked. He's colored on the box with crayon to make it a building. She is not literate (though I wonder a bit sometimes - she seems to understand some written words) but she took the book from me and began "reading" it to me. The call and response is so simple, so instantly understandable that she was able to recreate much of the dialouge just from the visual clues. She would check with me periodically to make sure she was getting it right, and I'd correct her "reading" with the text when it varied. So, the book turned out to be a nice reading lesson, words from the page to my mouth, to her ear, into her mind, back on the page and out her mouth, corrected by my eye. She took it to bed with her, which isn't always a compliment, because she takes some really crappy stuff to bed with her. But for once we were both satisfied.