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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ones and Twos, written and illustrated by Marthe Jocelyn and Nell Jocelyn. Tundra, 2011. $17.99 ages 2 and up

"One cloud, two kites,

One bun, two bites."

Concrete proof that we pass our genes to our children...Nell Jocelyn has the artistic talent of both parents. In this first collaboration between mother and daughter, we reap the benefits. Both are talented and share those talents in a perfectly simple concept book for the young. Choosing words that are 'spot on' for their audience and matching the text with dynamic, boldy colored collage artwork, they have created a rhythmic romp to be enjoyed time and time again.

Our first meeting with the book's characters happens before we turn a page. Two giggly girls and a robust mother robin grace the cover. We will meet up with them often as their day progresses.  Here's the beginning:

"One bird,
two eggs,

One girl,
two legs."

Look closely at the detailed illustrations and you will notice a variety of papers, textures, a mother robin with two eggs in her nest and a young girl, in runners and with a backpack, approaching a home. Take time to run your eyes along the bottom of the page where tiny details are added...leaves, shoes, socks. Do they tell us something about the characters? Is there something we can learn from them?

The pages are awash with small details and the larger world, a perfect place for exploration and discovery. The focus is on numbers and counting by ones and twos, and I love how they choose descriptive language to deepen the learning:

"One swoops,
two walk,
One sings,
two talk."

Seems so simple, but adds meaning and understanding for young language learners and makes this another wonderful book for children just learning to read simple text independently.  The art sings and will also provide encouragement to go out and find papers, objects, newspaper and string to try a hand at creatging similar artwork. Each time I look at this book I make new discoveries in the details!
Read it with your favorite toddler, and then read it again! Let's keep our fingers crossed that this is the beginning of a long and productive collaboration between mother and daughter. In the end, we will all be better for it!

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