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Monday, January 01, 2007

my granny went to market

alphabeasts children's book alphabeasts children's book

Ever since TJOML was a month or so old, we have read to her pretty regularly. Very simple board books. Then we graduated to other books.

Naturally Dr.Seuss books are a big hit. When she was about 4 months old, I started reading Mister Brown Can Moo Can You? She used to light up with a huge toothless smile when I started the book in my usual sing-song I reserved for Dr.Seuss books:
OHhh the WON-der-ful SOW-nds Mister BROW-nn can do...
He can SOW-nd like a CAOWWW
He can go MOO MOO...
And any time I wanted a guaranteed great picture of her, I just had to hold the camera in her vicinity and start reciting Oh the WON-der-ful SOW-nds and by the time I got to the Buzz Buzz line she would be sporting the most delicious smile ever and I simply clicked away to my heart's content.

It is sort of a secret pleasure for me to hunt for books I really like and want her to read. There are the usual classics, and then there are some pretty interesting books.

Maybe I shall write about TJOML's library one of these days.

But, today, I wanted to mention two of TJOML's books that I find very beautiful - in concept, in illustration and what it could mean to her as she grows up.

The two books pictured here: Alphabeasts and My Granny Went To Market were gifts from her Nana (my mum-in-law).

Thank You, Mom!

TJOML seems to love these two books. We sort of know this because just like her Say-aa potty book, she makes us read these in repeat mode, she is never satisfied with one read.

And, she doesn't like it if we hurry. She drinks in the page visually, points at things on the page that she knows, and tells us about it. And, she points at things she wants to know and looks at us expectantly nodding her head like a bobble-head doll while asking us to tell her more.

In My Granny Went To Market, granny goes to Istanbul, gets a magic carpet,
Next she went to Thailand
And flew down from the sky
To buy herself two temple cats
Puyin and Puchai
Then granny goes to different places all around the world, to Switzerland, Russia, Tokyo, Peru among other places, collects different things, and brings them back for the little girl. It is also a counting book as granny buys a certain number of each item she finds in each place. The illustrations have a folksy feel to them and are quite charming. The rhymes are nice and easy. I love the book as much as TJOML does, if not more...

TJOML got Alphabeasts book for this Christmas (2006). We have read it every day since, and at least twice a day. She asks for it!

As the cover might suggest, the illustrations are brilliant and have a surreal quality at times. Very eye-catching. Sort of Dali-esque.

And, as the title suggests, each letter of the alphabet teaches an animal name, like:I is for Ibis, N is for Narwhal and Q is for Quetzal!

animal wood floor puzzleNot many people I know have heard of these animals. The only reason I know these animals is because D is a sort of Mister-Know-It-All and we share our knowledge base.

Besides, TJOML has a floor wood puzzle of alphabet animals which introduced her to Narwhal, Quetzal and Vicuña and such. Again, Thanks, Mom, for the floor puzzle! We shall treasure it.

Although the rhymes in Alphabeasts are a bit bizarre, quite over the top for a toddler even, it definitely could double as an interesting coffee table book. The Victorian-looking house has different animals in different rooms in various states, doing different things that is sort of summed up or suggested in the rhyming couplets.

One of my favorites in this book is
C is for Cat,
who reflects on its self
shows a Siamese cat in front of a mirror gazing at the tiger staring back at him!

Another favorite for visual tease is
J is for Jaguar
Checking the stairs
where the jaguar's intricate coat pattern blends in with the checkered carpet on the stairs.

I do believe that at her age, TJOML needs visual stimuli and very simple rhymes to catch her fancy. So, I love these books, and can't wait for her to start getting all the subtleties and start appreciating the books in her own way as she grows up with them.

Books with several sentences in each page sort of tend to get a bit overwhelming and boring at times for a toddler, understandably. So, I sort of make up abridged versions of Beatrice's Goat, Peter Rabbit and such so I can still "read" her the stories without bogging her down with too many words and sentences that don't usually rhyme.

Clearly, those books are better enjoyed when she is older and I can't wait to read them to her in full original form when she is ready for it.

Until then, I am so glad she has quite a collection of board books and visually stimulating books to keep her little gray cells multiplying and firing energetically.

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