Monday, May 18, 2015

Trio of fun

I've three recommendations that are interactive and fun, fun, fun.

First, is a book from Tara Books.  This is an Indian publisher known for its handmade books that are often illustrated by ethnic peoples from various parts of India in traditional styles.  Visit the Bhil Carnival by Subhash Amaliyar and Gita Wolf is one such book.

This fold-out, pop-up picture book features two children who wander through a maze-like carnival, enjoying balloons, Ferris wheel, ice cream, Indian sweets like coconut burfi, music, dancing, and visiting friends. Opening the book we see Neela and Peela starting off to the fair. Turn the page and two flaps that run along the top and bottom of both pages reveal a peak-a-boo opening that tells us to “Come In”.   Pulling the flaps open reveals the entire fairground in an explosion of colour and dots.

The illustrator is from the Bhil tribe from Madhya Pradesh in central India.  His folk style uses the colour and dots to convey the constant movement and excitement to be found in this type of celebration.  The fold-out page includes a small story-book tucked and affixed into the corner that tells us what Neela and Peela are up to and a pop-up Ferris wheel too. Try this one with grades 2 and up as it ties into the social studies curriculum about community, quality of life, and India very easily.

Walter was Worried by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a terrific combination of visual and word play.  If Walter is worried, we see a boy’s worried face but the details are comprised of the letters that spells the word ‘worried’. If Shirley is shocked, we see a girl’s face with ‘s’ and ‘k’ as eyebrows, ‘c’ and ‘d’ for eyes, ‘h’ and ‘e’ are the pupils and ‘o’ for an open, shocked mouth.  It’s good fun and kids may be inspired to come up with their own depictions of spelled-out, facial emotions.  It’s a pretty sophisticated concept book that will work well with upper elementary.

And, my last bit of fun to offer you is Book-o-Beards: a wearable book by Lenke & Lentz. This oversized board book displays the bottom half of several hairy, male faces.  Holding the book up to your face with your nose tucked over the spine, you can try ‘wearing’ a new, bearded look before actually committing the time and effort in real life. If beards are back in, then anyone can be a part of this trend.  If you want to be a lumberjack, then you may want to try out a full, curly, orange beard.  Not into cutting down trees, then maybe take to the high seas as a black-bearded pirated complete with braids, bows and beads.  The knife held between yellowed-teeth is included for authenticity.  Also included are a cowboy, a sailor, Santa Claus, and a police officer. This will appeal to anyone with a sense of humour.

Thanks, Cowboy Barb, for showing us your beautiful beard.


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