Book Review: See Pip Flap

Pip

As part of my Post-K Summer Reading Boot Camp:
https://sarahleastories.com/2019/06/08/post-k-summer-reading-boot-camp-2019/

The purpose of See Pip Flap is to introduce reading to children just learning how.  In that respect, it works beautifully. What’s more, there is actually a story here where the words and pictures are equally important.  That said, a little repetition is fine, but we don’t need the word flap fifteen times in a row. At least reduce the flaps to three, following it with something else between flaps.

Basically, a mouse named Pip wants to fly with his bird friend, Tweet.  So, Otto the Robot seeks to equalize things for his friend by building a remote-controlled drone for Pip to be able to see what Tweet sees.  (Just remind your child that mice can do things birds can’t do, like burrow under tiny spaces.) Pip’s persistence, combined with Otto’s know-how, made Pip’s dream flight happen.

See Pip Flap was awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor, and it does remind me of Dr. Seuss’s early learning books.  It takes some talent to make a simple book like this enjoyable for the parent. The illustrations aren’t as good as Seuss’s, but they’re just as cute.  Page numbers would’ve been a nice addition, as I’ve taught my child her double digits that way; when children see numbers used in practical applications (e.g. digital clocks) rather than just flash cards which are only used for the purpose of memorization, they see the why, not just the what.   

Of course, my daughter being a lover of robots was a sell for me.  Anything that introduces children to technology (and how it can help overcome challenges) is a plus.  

Suggested activity:  Just as animals have their ways of communication, they also have their ways of moving.  Fish swim, snakes slither, turtles crawl, etc. Teach your child about these modes of transportation–even how humans get from one place to another (e.g. horse and buggy, bicycles, cars, trains, planes, etc).  Such is a good way to teach your child about the sixth sense: kinesthetics (the sense of movement): https://www.painscience.com/articles/sixth-sense.php.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38533032-see-pip-flap

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Book Review: A Parade of Elephants

Elephants

As part of my Post-K Summer Reading Boot Camp:
https://sarahleastories.com/2019/06/08/post-k-summer-reading-boot-camp-2019/

There is something sweet about the simplicity of this book.  It’s not great literature–it’s an early learning book–and would make a perfect shower gift.

In A Parade of Elephants, kids learn not so much about elephants but about counting, verbs, and opposites using elephants.  A book like this requires a bit of ad-libbing, but with a few words on the page and a little imagination, it can be done.  There is nothing more I hate than opening a book to find there are absolutely no words in it.  

The words are large and bold enough to point to as you read; the thick lines and  charming pastels are easy on the eyes. The layout was clean, the limited color palette kept it simple, and the words did not bleed onto the pictures or background.  What’s more, the story was punctuated properly (no violation of Fanboy rules). If you’re trying to teach your child to at least recognize certain punctuation symbols, this book has an ellipsis and an em dash.  For early reading purposes, words like “scattered” are a bit much, but there are plenty of sight words.  

My daughter enjoyed this one.  

Sure, some of the language could’ve been more interesting (they need to do more than march throughout the day, like playing, eating, etc.) and phrases like “Big and round and round they are.  Big and round and round they go” could’ve used some work. The second sentence makes a nice turn, but the first does not.  

However, at the end, when the elephants are shooting stars through their trumpets (i.e. trunks), “scattering stars across the sky,” it was like the grand finale of a fireworks show.  Just lovely.

A Parade of Elephants is as soporific as a lullaby, with lavender as a calming dominant color.  It’s a book I would’ve bought for my child if she was still a baby, maybe even a toddler.  

For something a little more fun and less babyish, I highly recommend Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/759611.Brown_Bear_Brown_Bear_What_Do_You_See), We Are Best Friends (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23604997-best-friends)–a perfect book to teach opposites and things that complement one another (even if the stanzas are quite silly), as well as the rest of the series, and Little Owl’s Day https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20307476-little-owl-s-day), as well as the night version.  Get them in the board book form; they will last longer, and you child will enjoy turning the page without worry that they’re going to rip it.

Suggested activity:  Before this book, I didn’t know that a group of elephants can also be called a parade.  I had only ever heard of herd. There are scores of books on animal groups, but in a pinch, you and your child can check out:  https://www.dictionary.com/e/strange-animal-groups-listicle/.  This is a great introduction–not only to other animals but to other words.  

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37811051-a-parade-of-elephants