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Illustrated by Bruce McMillan
New York, Crown Publishers, Inc., 1993.
30pp, paper, $4.99, ISBN 0-517-88098-9
Distributed by Random House of Canada. CIP

Subject Headings:
Children's songs.
Growth-Songs and music.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7

Reviewed by Catherine McInerney

Volume 22 Number 2
1994 March / April

I always have difficulty deciding how to use picture-books based on song lyrics While this concept gives artists a wonderful chance to demonstrate their talents, the resulting book do not always work well. Do you sing them or read them out loud? Also, just because a song is popular does not mean that the lyrics are of high literary quality.

With these reservations in mind, I can say that Raffi's "Songs to Read" series does have many strong points. First of all, because kids will be familiar with the songs from listening to Raffi's albums, the books will have great popularity. From a learning-to-read perspective, this familiarity also makes decoding the words in the book easier for the young reader.

In this title, warm and sunny photos by award-winning picture-book photographer Bruce McMillan accompany text from an original Raffi tune. Multi-ethnic children, animals, and scenes from nature elaborate upon simple sentences. When a verse of the song repeats, the photos change subtly so that the book does not become monotonous.

The theme of this book would make it useful in many contexts: harvest celebrations, discussion of personal growth, etc. As an additional bonus for the environmentally conscious, the book is printed on recycled paper.

Catherine McInerney is a children's librarian at the St. Catherines Public Library

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