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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wee Rhymes, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Jane Dyer. Simon & Schuster, 2013. $22.99 ages 0 and up

"Baby threw his spoon down.
Mama picked it up.
Next he threw his plate down 
And his plastic cup.
Baby clapped his hands,
And waited for some more.
"No," said Mama.
And left them on the floor."

It's always a treat to find a book that would make the perfect gift for a baby shower. I have a few favorites. I particularly like giving books of rhyme to new babies so that their parents can fill them up with the lilting rhythms of language and help them on the way to being our readers of the future. The more rhymes that children know the easier it will be for them to figure out how words and reading work.

Jane Yolen and Jane Dyer have created a brand new book of 'wee' rhymes to be shared with little ones. Mother Goose helped them just a little. Jane Yolen wrote most of the poems while Jane Dyer created the tender and radiant illustrations to accompany them. They introduce themselves as grandmothers and they have a shared belief:
"We both believe that literature begins in the cradle. Rhymes are our earliest cultural artifacts. Children who are given poetry early will have a fullness inside. Mother Goose rhymes, baby verse - that kind of singsong, sing-along rhythm - is as important as a heartbeat. Add pictures to them, and you have the whole early childhood package. Just add the love."

Here is one sample:


Mama's hug is gentle,
Daddy's hug is long,
Grandad's hug
Is warm as a rug.
And Grandma's comes with a song."

There are rhymes about tickling, belly button music, bouncing, walking, dressing - those things that are common and natural to the children who will share this wonderful collection. It's all in a day's work for them and those who love them.  The pencil and watercolor artwork shows wide variety in age, perspective, and activity. They glow with warm colors and energy, while also turning quiet and gentle to match the text. It's a perfect way to welcome a little one to a literate world!

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