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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Little Treasures, written by Jacqueline K. Ogburn and illustrated by Chris Raschka. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Thomas Allen & Son. 2011. $18.99 ages 3 and up

"All over the world, mothers and fathers, grandparents and cousins, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, love their children very much and call them by many different sweet names."

I still call both of mine 'honey', although they are now 33 and 36! I also call Erin, "Mac', 'sweet cheeks' and 'Ernie'. Bret has forever been 'Beast', named by his three year old sister when she wanted him to stop crying. But, he is also called 'BR', 'lovey' and only rarely 'Bert'. I mean, who names their kids Erin and Bret in the early days of Sesame Street? Even strangers thought it funny to call them Ernie and Bert occasionally!

Every family has stories of pet nicknames. In this lovely book of endearing names that children are called around the world, Jacqueline Ogburn entertains and informs her audience. She begins at home in America with names like 'honey, pumpkin, sunshine, and baby-cakes'. Crossing the ocean to countries where the English language is spoken she adds "poppet' and 'possum'. As her travels take her to France, Finland, Russia, Poland, Uganda and further still, she adds to the compendium with expressions such as 'mon lapin', 'halipupu', 'lapochka', 'kabitte', 'habibi', 'bao bei', and 'caramelito' (which translates to 'little candy' and sounds good enough to eat). It was so much fun to pore over the collection and try my hand at pronunciation. Her guide made me sound quite worldly and offers some new ideas to try.

There is great fun  and new learning. Young listeners will giggle, older readers will enjoy the written and spoken translations from so many countries of the world. Children from other cultures will be delighted to find themselves and their language on its pages.

Chris Raschka does a brilliant job of creating characters, They are full of fun, cheery color and expressive faces. He uses bold lines, ever-changing blues, greens, pinks, yellows and greens, and paint-splashed backgrounds to add interest and garner attention to the details. The children smile with great pride at their pet names and the all-over feeling is one of joy and love.

What fun to share with children and discover the special names they are called by loved ones. Did you have a nickname? Did I? I will have to dig deep in my memory to make that discovery. This post is dedicated to 'cutie-pie, honeybunch, angel face, lover girl' and 'the Beast'! I love them more today than yesterday and always, less than tomorrow!

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