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Monday, July 2, 2012

SHOUT! Shout it out! Written and illustrated by Denise Fleming. Henry Holt, 2011. $19.50 ages 1 and up

Shout it out!


"Tiny baby penguin,
sleepy, oh so sleepy.

Tiny baby giraffe,
sleepy, oh so sleepy.

Tiny baby otter,
sleepy, oh so sleepy.

Where's my sleepy baby?"

"Stop," says the red light,
"Go," says the green,
"Wait," says the yellow light
Blinking in between.
That's what they say and
That's what they mean.
We all must obey them
Even the Queen."

It's a Denise Fleming EXTRAVAGANZA! today! I can't help but smile every time I see one of her wondrous books for toddlers and language learners. She fills the pages with engaging children, joy, and discovery. Her artwork raises the stakes with its textures, deep colors, and energy. Every round-faced toddler invites cuddling, and cheek pinching.

In SHOUT! she encourages her audience to revel in their knowledge of their own world...numbers, letters, colors, pets and transportation. The multicultural crew of children who help with the shouting guide us from page to page and encourage participation. What fun is that!

A description of the art process is what I would love to encounter in every picture book I read. It is so helpful to know that:

'The illustrations were created by pulp painting - a papermaking technique using colored cotton fiber poured through hand-cut stencils. Accents were added with patterned paper collage, pastel pencil, china marker, and colored indian inks.'

I'm not necessarily sure what all that means but it serves to let me know it is a complicated process taken to create these gorgeous images. It makes every single page sing and SHOUT! for her intended audience. A tiny mouse provides a running commentary on all things shouted, adding a gentle humor and a bit of a search and find moment.  Imagine the fun of reading this with a group of 2 and 3 year olds. I am going to use in later in the summer when I visit a summer reading program for children and their parents. What better way to get them interested in reading on their own.

Sleepy, oh so sleepy is a patterened language book that will have even the youngest child trying to read along. The soft and gentle edges, combined with a much softer, deeper palette of color, make this a perfect bedtime read. All eyes are closed, the parent is near, and the repetitive lines lull the restless child at the end of a long and very busy day. Some of the animals may be unfamiliar to little ones; that is the joy in reading books and learning more about the world. A perfect book for a baby shower...and one that will be read again and again.

The Everything Book is a perfect ending to our Denise Fleming celebration...offering counting, mealtime, toys, outdoors, pets, body parts, faces and places. And there's more. Some are concepts, some are reminders of language being learned, and there are nursery rhymes as well. The pages are once again filled with bright color, familiar images and great fun. Toddlers will love poring over the pages, helping with responses and delighting in new learning.  The ryhmes pop in at the perfect time to encourage a short break and add quiet discussion:

"Tippy tippy tiptoe,
see how we go.

Tippy tippy tiptoe
to and fro.

Tippy tippy tiptoe
through the house.

Tippy tippy tiptoe
like a mouse."

Once you reach the end of the book you are encouraged to return to its pages and try to find all 119 ladybugs that grace its pages. The invitation offers some much needed help in your efforts to discover each and every one of them.

It's another lovely book to share, and to place on your 'keepers' shelf! Thank you, Ms. Fleming!

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