Thursday, September 6, 2012

Information Needs of Children - Caldecotts (Part 2)

Owly and Wormy: Friends All Aflutter by Andy Runton

Owly and Wormy: Friends All Aflutter! is a wordless picture book about Owly and his friend Wormy and their attempts to grow a garden to attract beautiful butterflies. While they are unable to attract any butterflies, their yummy plants do attract caterpillars. In the meantime, Owly and Wormy decide to make friends with the caterpillars instead, so you can imagine how distraught they are when the caterpillars disappear! 

The book is predictable, though for children’s learning purposes that can actually be a good thing. Children will learn about the life cycle of a butterfly amongst many other things. As with all wordless books, this book is a great opportunity for children to improve their storytelling and/or writing abilities (as they essentially have to make up the story themselves). However, the author/illustrator also provides many clues through speech bubbles and signs as a guide for children in case they can’t tell what’s going on without a little help. This encourages children to use their imagination to figure out what the pictures in the speech bubble are trying to “say” (i.e. the four-leaf-clover = “good luck!”).

This book is appropriate for ages 4-6.

First the Egg by Laura Seeger

First the Egg attempts to pair the age-old question “What came first - the chicken or the egg?” with child-friendly illustrations. “First the egg, then the chicken” is followed by other animals or objects that evolve from something else (i.e. “First the tadpole, then the frog”), only to wind up again at “First the chicken, then the egg”, leaving the mystery still unsolved. 

While the original concept of “the chicken or the egg?” may be a bit too complex for children to handle, the other “First, then”’s in the book can be very educational. Children will also be able to see a step-by-step process or growth on each page - using the frog as an example again, on the first page, the tadpole is a tadpole; the next page shows a tadpole growing legs, followed by the page with a full frog on it.

This book is appropriate for ages 3-5.

So You Want to be President by Judith St. George

So You Want to be President? gives a brief and very kid-friendly idea of what it is like to be a president (the president has lots of “homework”, but doesn't have to eat vegetables), and some of the most random qualities, hobbies, etc. that you could ever want to know about them. 

In the back of the book there is a timeline of the 43 presidencies (pre-Obama, as that is when this edition was revised and published), the years of their terms, and a very brief summary of what they were most well-known for. This book meets the information needs of children if they need to know any historic trivia fact about our presidents from their size, to their pets, to their musical abilities.

This book may be appropriate for ages 7-9.

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