Squirm’s Book Reviews: What Do You See Edition

Each week I’d like to review some of the books I’ve read to Squirm. I’ll also make a post with some of my own reading reviewed. Although there’s no actual theme in the books I chose to review, the three books I’ve chosen have some similarities – all being about the way we see things.
Peepo! by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
This was the first of our library books that we read and out of the three we got, this was far and away the favourite. It tells us about the day in the life of a baby through a simple repeating rhyme asking us what the baby sees. A simple circle cut out gives us a glimpse of what the baby sees, accompanied by a single word – Peepo! We then turn the page to see an illustration rich with detail, only some of which is written about.
This is a great book to accompany a game of peek-a-boo, but it would be great to sit with an older child and talk about what they see on each page. With an even older child, you could ask them to make inferences or predictions based on the images and the simple words – “Why is the mother sleeping in the chair?” or “Where did the dog come from?”
I’d love to own this one down the track, but for now we’ll just have to borrow it heaps 🙂
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
I’m a liitle ashamed that I’d never read this one until now. Harold and the Purple Crayon tells the story of Harold who uses his oversized purple crayon to go for a walk in the moonlight. But his crayon, his imagination and his drawings take him much further and he ends up on an adventure.
Squirm enjoyed the simple, high contrast illustrations in this one, but again there’s a lot here for older children. There’s discussions about imagination, creating a world of your own and what makes home that could be had. And it would be fun to get out your own purple crayons to create your own world.
There’s other Harold books out there – I fully intend to track them down!
Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran and Barbara Cooney
This is a deceptively simple story about a group of children who build their own world, Roxaboxen, on the top of a nearby hill. The children find pebbles that they realise are treasure. They build houses and shops. They drive cars and horses and participate in wars. And even when they grow up, they don’t forget Roxaboxen. This book was inspired by the real Roxaboxen – a place the author’s mother played in.
I found this a very quiet story – it would be great to read to Squirm as a bedtime story. But with older children, I could see excellent discussions about imagination and reusing materials for play. It would also be possible to create a Roxaboxen of your own – either a big one, or one in miniature 🙂

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