Tuesday, May 4, 2010
What if? by Laura Vaccaro Singer. Roaring Brook, H B Fenn, 2010. $18.99 ages 3 and up
And what if...?
Then what if...?
Laura Vaccaro Singer is an innovative, original voice in children's books. Each book begs to be read and read again...to be pored over for their outwardly simple messages. In her books nothing is quite as simple as she makes it feel. Readers and listeners come away from the sharing in a more thoughtful space.
In this lovely, lively new story we meet a young boy whose presence on the cover gets us to thinking that he might be playing a game with the beach ball that is so prominently displayed. Upon opening that cover we watch as he kicks the ball toward the water, then watch that same ball afloat on the water. The first question is asked, 'What if..?'
Well, what if two seals got to playing with the ball in the water and it came ashore? One seal follows it, and then the other. 'And what if...?' The two seals get to playing while another watches from the water. They don't invite the third to join them and we are faced with a full page image of the sadness the left out seal feels.
She presents two additional scenarios, each with the same questions, but with different solutions. It is so thought-provoking and discussion-encouraging for her young readers. There are only eleven words altogether...and then they are repeated. Children will soon be reading this wistful book to themselves, and thinking of other occasions when similar events might occur.
I often suggest a gift library of Laura Vaccaro Singer's books when children are beginning to be interested in reading on their own. It is a special way to set them on the journey that will last a lifetime! If you have a loved one that you would like to start on the road to lifelong reading pleasure, look for her books and get that bookshelf growing.