CM . . . .
Volume V Number 20 . . . . June 4, 1999
An oink, a moo,Who among us has not at one time or another played peek-a-boo with a young child whose face lit up with renewed surprise each time we pulled our hands away from in front of our eyes? Now that delight of play can be connected to the joy which can be found in books. Seven of this brief book's pages are largely filled by the head-and-shoulders of an animal rendered in a bright cartoon style, its face covered by its "arms." The text, which reads, "Guess who? Peek-a-", can only be completed by lifting the covering "arm" flap and revealing the animal's face and the rest of the text. In addition to the illustration's providing the "surprise" of allowing the child to see the animal's face, the text does not follow the anticipated "boo" pattern. Instead, the "answer" to the "Guess who?" question is completed by the sound the animal makes (moo!) and the name of the animal (says the COW) in case the child has not previously encountered it. In this fashion, children play peek-a-boo with a cow, pig, mouse, owl, rooster, sheep, and duck. The book concludes with a cartoon child who invites the young "reader" to become part of the game.
Until the fold-down flaps become "loose" from repeated use, they will provide a challenge to young fingers which are not yet capable of the small motor movements necessary to lift them. Given that learning the specific "gender names" of animals is a second level in vocabulary development, do not be surprised if children, upon seeing the rooster, say "cluck-cluck! Says the chicken" rather that "cock-a-doodle-do! Says the rooster."
A home or nursery school purchase.
Dave Jenkinson, who teaches courses in children's and YA literature in the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba, is an excellent peek-a-boo player.
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