I have been on the search for books for preschoolers as I am writing a book list about it and I have come across some rather lovely books during the last few months.
Here is just a small selection!
This latest book by acclaimed cut paper artist Nikki McClure (and actually the first she ever created) is in fact a non-fiction picture book following the life of an apple throughout a year. Each double spreads depicts a stage in the life of the apple by presenting a single word in block letters, and a drawing illustrating it on the opposite page (for example FALL, as the illustration shows the apple at the foot of the tree). More detailed explanations about the life of an apple tree and composting can be found in the last pages of the book.
The black and white illustrations with only a touch of red that identifies the location of the apple are effective and atmospheric. McClure’s paper-cutting is intricate and fascinating, and Apple offers a wonderful opportunity to get little readers more connected with nature.
Now I Am Big!
Stephen Krensky (text) & Sara Gillingham (illustrations)
This gorgeously retro looking board book celebrates the small achievements of toddlers as they grow into preschoolers. Each double-spread focuses on an aspect of growing up: “I used to be shy” shows the little boy hiding behind an adult’s legs, and is teamed with “Now I am brave” showing the same little boy playing with other children in the park. The primary coloured artwork is stylish and child-friendly and together with the simple positive statements that make up the text, they will do wonders to empower little readers at a stage in their lives when their confidence sometimes falter. A second book by the same duo, I Can Do It Myself compliments Now I Am Big!.
Ellen Giggenbach is an acclaimed designer, famous for her bold and vibrant prints and cut paper crafts, and in her two first board books for toddlers, she uses her style to great effect. Both books use simple narrative, solely in the artwork, and situations that toddlers will recognise, to introduce counting (one to five) and simple every day words in the other. Giggenbach paints paper and then cuts it to create collages, which gives texture and depth to the artwork. The pages are also embossed in places, and there is a mix of shiny and matt paper, which together create a fun and tactile experience for little readers. Counting particularly offers plenty to spot and lots of opportunities for interaction: each double-spread focuses on a number, “four balloons” for example, but if one looks more closely, there are also four bottles, four t-shirts etc. to spot. There is something quirky and peppy about those two books which will most definitely appeal to toddlers.