CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 2 . . . . September, 2007
"No. Try again."
Ruowen Wang taught English as a Second Language for ten years. Her children's picture books are self-published. Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking? relates a conversation between a young girl and her mother. First the mother has to guess what her daughter is thinking. Then the situation is reversed. This is an interesting idea for a children's picture book: mother and child trying to read each other's mind even though they are unsuccessful in their attempts.
The full-page illustrations by Wei Xu are brightly coloured with simplified backgrounds. The picture clues assist both listeners and young readers in following the story. The pictures also show that the relationship between mother and daughter is a happy one.
However, there are a number of troubling aspects to this book. It would seem that the book was thought out or written in another language and then translated. In some places, the writing is stilted in its conversational wording. For example, "Are you thinking of washing our
In addition, the pictured girl appears to be about three-years-old. When her mother gives up guessing, the girl explains to her mother about "unique fingerprints" and "impressing" them into her mother's birthday cake icing. She ends this conversation with the words, "I'm unique and I'm yours." This wording and sentence structure are not generally what a child of this age would use. The book then ends with an age-appropriate "Nighty night."
Also, an unexplained "Mrs. Rose" is thrown into the conversation by the child. This woman is the one who has told the child about fingerprints.
There are no conversational tags. The mother's words are set out in italics and the daughter's in regular print.
Because of the problems identified, the book is not recommended.
Jeannette Timmerman is a former teacher, consultant and administrator in the Winnipeg (MB) School Division.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.