Friday, October 21, 2011

Children's Book Review, Let's Go, Baby-o!

Children's Book Review
Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson,

Isn't it great when you find a children's picture book you just know that kids and adults alike will love? Let's Go, Baby-o! was written by Janet McLean, illustrated by Andrew McLean, and published by Allen and Unwin, 2011. (RRP $24.99 for the sturdy hard cover edition.) It's a glorious romp of a book, perfect to share with babies, toddlers and preschoolers. I can imagine all the dancing, clapping, flipping and flapping that will accompany it as a read-aloud.

When sleep-time is over, a little boy and his friend play action games, but in between they stop to look out the window. What do they see? Grandparents are digging in the garden, children are building a cubby house, the cat has her eye on the baby birds and the dogs have their eyes on the cat!

Let's Go, Baby-o! is a fun-filled story for parents, grandparents, teachers and childcare educators to share with babies and young children. This book shows that learning language and playing games go together and will encourage the conversations between children and adults that are so important for children's development.

I love the way Let's Go, Baby-o! encourages parents and kids to interact, and play with language. The strong rhythms promote movement too. Chanting and dancing a book really helps kids internalise language:

Let's go, baby-o, baby-o, baby-o.
Let's go, baby-o, you and me.
To the up,
To the down,
To the turn around.

Can you read that aloud without moving?

Andrew McLean's watercolour illustrations are gentle, detailed, perfect. The different views from the window give children lots of opportunities to comment on what's going on, and discuss cause and effect at a simple level. Kids will love noticing and pointing out details like the gradual addition of toys to the window sill as the story progresses.

Older siblings might like to join in and invent their own Baby-o rhymes. The simple model of looking out the window and creating a chant about something that's seen could easily become a family game for home or in the car. I love that this children's picture book encourages movement as well as language - it would make a perfect gift for a baby shower, an ideal suggestion for young parents, and an excellent choice for Storytime at pre-school or the library.

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