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“Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”
Summary: A toddler helps out fixing broken toys (replacing batteries, taping up a game box), and then helps construct and paint a toy box so that the toys will be better protected in the future. In this series of illustrated books, the toddlers help parents do their daily tasks. At the bottom of the page are short sentences/questions relating to the activity on the page. This board book introduces kids to tools and how they work.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 1 to 5; read yourself: 5 to 8
Interest Level: 2 to 5
Age of Child: Read with children 18 months and 3 years old.
Young Reader Reaction: Sometimes I picked these books, sometimes my boys did. My kids really liked the book, especially since they do help out a LOT with our daily tasks. They were easily able to relate to the story. They loved the colorful pictures, and really loved that the pages were laminated so I was able to let them flip through the books by themselves (without worrying so much about them ripping the pages).
Adult Reader Reaction: I loved the illustrations and the concept. The pictures are colorful and the families are multi-ethnic, with all skin colors represented as friends, spouses, grandparents, children, shopkeepers, etc. Toddlers are shown helping out using kid-friendly tools (plastic knives to cut the mushrooms, not the sharp adult knives to cut the peppers). These are very safe books! I did not like the text, so I usually read the books as if there were no words on the page. These books (I believe?) were written/published in England, so they use terms that are not in the American vernacular. It makes the reading of the text awkward, because it does not tell the story and does not promote other interactions with the child listening to the story. So, I just used the pictures and we loved the books in that way! Even without the text, these books are WORTH buying, simply because they portray good role models for happy, helpful behavior in toddlers.
Pros: These sturdy, colorful books introduce wonderful concepts and are useful on several levels. For example, kids can learn to identify tools AND safe practices, too.
Cons: The sentences are presented as questions that would commonly be asked by a child IN the situation. But they are done in such a way that they could not be answered and were not relevant to the plot. For instance, asking “Are we there yet?” when they are riding the bus to the store: there’s no indication in the illustration whether they have reached the store. Also, “How many pairs of socks are there?” in a page where the socks are not paired up and it took me (an adult) a bit to answer the question myself. Or “What do we need to buy?” when the reader does not know what they are making yet, so there’s no way to answer the question.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. It may be better to borrow this from the library or include these as part of a book swap with friends. I would definitely buy the “Grow it!” book for myself and/or for friends who are gardeners, too.