CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 31. . . April 21, 2017
All three of these board books from Tundra were originally published as picture books, with Linda Bailey’s If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur and Cybčle Young’s Nancy Knows both initially appearing in 2014. Ted Harrison’s A Northern Alphabet was originally published in 1982 and then republished in 2009 as part of the “ABC Our Country” series. In their original picture book format, all three books received four star “Highly Recommended” reviews in CM.
In transforming the trio into board books, the publisher has made some changes, with the most obvious being that the books, to accommodate very young hands, were reduced in their physical dimensions in terms of height and width. As well, their length was reduced, with Nancy Knows having three pairs of facing pages removed and If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur just a single double-page spread. The loss of these pages does not appear to have impacted the text. Because A Northern Alphabet is, as the title states, an alphabet book, obviously no text pages could be deleted. In the book, the text identifies what the child is to locate in Harrison’s illustration. For example:
However, Harrison’s artwork also contains other P p objects, such as a pot, pail, pipe, pine and pool. At the back of the original picture book version, Harrison had provided a list, by letter, of the various other things in each picture that also began with the prescribed letter. Because that “prompt” page is not part of the board book, the very young child or the mediating adult must come to that realization her/himself.
Additionally, both If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur and Nancy Knows have very minor changes to the original picture book text. For instance, in the former, a page of text that originally read, “Your friends will line up to try your exciting new diving board” has been reduced to “What an exciting diving board!”
Though not all picture books can be successfully transitioned to board books, If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur and Nancy Knows work well in the new format for a younger target audience. I do have mixed feelings though about A Northern Alphabet. While Harrison’s art work, alone, is worth sharing with toddlers, content-wise, it’s a sophisticated alphabet book that may be too challenging for the publisher’s recommended cohort of 0-3 year-olds.
If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur: Highly Recommended.
Nancy Knows: Highly Recommended.
A Northern Alphabet: Recommended.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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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.