Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955)

This is a book that reminds all of us how we start thinking about problems and the logic of children - they can be truly enlightening even for a learned adult.

There is no moon? Draw a moon.
There is nothing to walk on? Draw a path!
The path did not seem getting anywhere. Draw the way to go! (What ingenious and simple solution.)

"One evening, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight..." and the adventure begins!

"There wasn't any moon, and Harold needed a moon for a walk in the moonlight."

(so Harold draws a moon...)

My son liked the adventure so much and he never got bored with repeated reading.

Author/Illustrator: Crockett Johnson
Suitable: 3-7, Nursery,Kindergarten
Format: Paperback
Size: 6.9 x 6.5in, 17x17cm, sort of square
Pages: 64

Singapore: NLB,
Kinokuniya (S$11.79)
Amazon: Here

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Usage of Reading Level

Reading Level is useful to tell how readable a book is. If you are interested in learning about what "Reading Level" is, you can find a short version and a long version. In the long version, it explained also various numerical/categorical scales that exist so a leveling guide can be found here too.

Aamzon lists its "Reading Level" using age.

Note that however the "Reading Level" is based on word length, vocabulary, number of words in a sentence, complexity of sentences and other "writing" attributes. So it is really indicative of how "readable" a book is, not how suitable the content of the book is.

So with this first level of information (suggested Reading Level on a book), the parents still need assess the content of a book before reading to the child.

Sometimes a book with low suggested Reading Level may touch on content that actually requires more maturity in order to grasp - but again this is subjective so it comes back to the parents' call - by knowing their child most.

Of course, (nearly all the time) picture books are good pick for the young child. They can sometimes be written for slightly higher Reading Level (eg due to vocabulary), but they remain suitable for child of slightly lower age - they have great illustrations. This is especially true if the book is read to the child.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pat the Bunny (1940)

From the back cover - "In this beloved classic (1940), Paul and Judy play peekaboo, smell flowers, look into the mirror, feel daddy's scratchy face, and, of course, pat the bunny! All eight activities in this timeless favorite will fascinate your little one."

It is plainly colorful but it is interactive, the baby can touch and feel what is involved in the eight activities. They will adore it.

Author: Dorothy Kunhardt
Suitable: 0 ~ 3 Years (Baby, Toddler, Nursery)
Format: Paperback with Plastic Comb
Size: 14*13*2cm, 5.6*5.1*1.1 inches (square, about A6)
Page: 20

Kinokuniya, search ISBN 9780307120007, S$15.79
Amazon: here

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Find the Book!

In Singapore, National Library Board (NLB) holds a very good collection of children's book and they can be borrowed free. Otherwise, good English book can be purchased locally, eg Borders, Kinukuniya, or online Kinukuniya BookWeb, or the good old Amazon.com (some forwarding service such as vPost will save the international shipping charges). From Dangdang or Amazon CN you can find a large collection of Chinese book at good price (though the spectrum of quality is wide too - as a trade-off). Some English classics are translated into Chinese - it can be an interesting read.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Guess How Much I Love You (1994)

From the backcover - "How much can you love someone? Little Nutbrown Hare wants to show Big Nutbrown Hare how very much he loves him - but love as big as his is very hard to measure!"

Everyone will be touched by the tender conversation between the little and his dad. The little is enthusiastic in expressing his measurement of love, and you can expect some interesting answer from the dad.

Author: Sam McBratney
Illustrator: Anita Jeram
Suitable: Age 3-7 (Nursery, Kindergarten)
Format: Hard cover, board book
Size: 15x13x1cm, about A6
Pages: 32

Singapore: NLB,
Amazon: here

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Seeds of Reading

I started some storytelling session for NLB in 2008. This turned out to be really a fruitful journey. The experience of seeing children enjoying a story and sitting curiously for half an hour is simply rewarding. In addition, I dive into different storybooks (most of time my audience is from 4-8). The breadth of books for children is amazing: they can be big in size, brief in length yet not short of depth, they can be in plain sentence yet with delightful meaning, they can have simple storyline yet trigger spellbinding emotion. The illustration is always a crucial element for such books, some are brightly colorful, some are moody, some are minimal (pen and ink), yet they all create captivating imaginations. Most of the time, the books are all full of little details and comforting "twists", not only to children and also as a pleasant surprise to the adult reader.

The children's book speaks to the child in all of us. Sometimes you may recognize some books you happen to read in the childhood - it can be nostalgic!

I read to my son too (he is 3+). I plan to use this web site to register some books I read along the way and some gems that should belong in every library. Every child deserves one of his own library, even starting when he/she is born.