David Shannon's No David!, a celebration of a young boy's naughtiness, won a Caldecott honor in 1998. Since then, various David follow-ups have been published, including the "Diaper David" board book series. This recently released "Pocket Library" contains: David Smells!, Oh, David!, and Oops!, each featuring a proudly diaper-wearing (and often stinky) toddler-sized David.
I can't say that I personally warm to Shannon's illustrations of David, with his pig-like nose and, let's face it, creepy eyes. I can see why this illustration style works with 3-5 year-olds. David looks like someone they might draw (a style which I know is difficult to pull off). I'm not sure how well this style translates to babies (my 18-month-old seems to prefer photographs and realistic illustrations, at least right now). But I will say that Shannon's content is spot on regarding toddler-hood. Each of the three books dwells mainly on the troublesome attributes of toddlers (touching things they shouldn't touch, eating things they shouldn't eat, and so). But each book also finishes up with a warmer, cozier moment.
For example, David Smells! introduces the five senses. The first four are not so pleasant (baby David banging too loudly on a drum, about to taste a truly repulsive bug-covered lollipop, etc). But on the last page, for "see", David plays peekaboo with all the charm of any toddler.
For me, the funniest moment of the three books comes in the middle of Oh, David!. The text just says "Hold still!". The picture shows David's mother wrestling him into pajamas, was he gleefully tries to escape. What parent hasn't been there?
The truth is, these three books feel more like they were published to entertain tired parents than to actually engage babies, and they certainly work on that level. I think they would also work for older kids who enjoy the picture book version of David, and want to see what he was like as a toddler. I'll be interested to see if Baby Bookworm warms to them when she is a bit older. For now, I think her primary interest in them is going to involve taking them out of the slipcase, and trying (without much success) to put them back in. These board books are definitely worth a look for fans of the David books, but probably won't be your first choice for actually catching the attention of babies.
Publisher: The Blue Sky Press (@Scholastic)
Publication Date: September 1, 2011 (this collection)
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.