Eye of the Storm: Kate Messner
Numbers 3: Infinity: Rachel Ward

Into Everything Baby Stages Books

Books: Do Touch! Don't Touch! and Uh-Oh! Oh No!
Author: Ann Hodgman
Illustrator: Lucy Barnard
Pages: 18 pages each (padded board book format)
Age Range: 2-3

Tiger Tales Press sent me this pair of padded board books about babies/toddlers who are "into everything". I immediately passed them on to Baby Bookworm, who just turned two. She loves them so much that I simply had to share them here on my blog.

2e307de5267d0a6748803fa18f1d85e1Uh-Oh! Oh No! features a somewhat hapless father who hands his high chair-bound toddler a sippy cup that isn't closed properly, and then leaves the room. Uh-oh! Oh no! The milk spills all over the cat. Who in turn knocks over the knitting basket. Which knocks a chair into the table. And so on, until there is a very large mess. Daddy cleans up the mess, of course, but (not being the fastest learner in the world), he then hands the toddler an open bowl of applesauce. Uh-oh! The book ends on another "Uh-oh!" high note, as far as toddlers are concerned.

This is a book that's easy to be a bit snarky about, as a parent. Why does daddy leave a big pitcher of orange juice on the tablecloth, when there's a dog nearby who can easily pull the tablecloth off the table? When daddy ends up covered in milk and cereal, well, he brought it upon himself, didn't he? He'll learn.

But that's not really the point. The point is that to toddlers (mine, at least, but I would strongly imagine others, too) this book is flat-out hilarious. Baby Bookworm loves to chime in with the "Uh-oh! Oh no!" refrain. She asks for the book by name, repeatedly, and she now says "Uh-oh! Oh no!" whenever something falls on the floor. Uh-Oh! Oh No! echoes her real-world experiences, with just enough exaggeration to be funny. Ann Hodgman's text is quite minimal, but Lucy Barnard's soft-toned illustrations have enough detail to add talking points. ("Look! The kitty is drinking the juice on the table.")

52d29446333fddaf98097c1745e417a1Do Touch! Don't Touch! is similar in tone and illustration style (featuring the same toddler from the first book). Each page spread shows something that children should touch (like a kitty) or should not touch (like the stove). At the end are a couple of page spreads showing multiple "Don't touch!" or "Do touch!" items. This book is quite similar in content to Leslie Patricelli's No No Yes Yes, though the entries aren't paired in Do Touch! Don't Touch!, and there's a more straight-up (vs. cartoon/humorous) take on things.

As a reviewer, I found myself bothered by the lack of parallelism in the text in Do Touch! Don't Touch! The first couple of entries have a sentence (like "The yarn is fluffy") followed by "Do touch" or "Don't touch". Then the book shifts to a format like "Don't touch the plug. Too sparky!". Then it goes back to the first format "The syrup is sticky! Don't touch." Perhaps I am nit-picking, but (having read this book many times over the past several days), I think that a consistent format would have been better.

As a parent, I question the very idea behind this type of book (that goes for No No Yes Yes, too). Do such books just put ideas into kids' heads? Would it have occurred to my child to play with plugs in the first place? But, again, my child LOVES this book. She asks for it again and again. She seems to be processing the information. If I skip listing one of the "Don't Touch" items on the last page, she stops me to point it out. She touches the picture of the plug, and pretends to get a shock. She makes her doll touch the picture of the hot stove, and then gives her a kiss. So, I have to concede that Do Touch! Don't Touch! is filling some sort of "learning about the world" need. With just a touch of humor thrown in.

Do Touch! Don't Touch! and Uh-Oh! Oh No! are sturdy, padded board books, a bit larger than typical board books (though not as big as the lap editions). They are chock full of toddler appeal. They invite the reader to touch the pages (though they aren't touch and feel books). They are about things the toddler can relate to and giggle about, with punchy, repeatable text. They do lack that particular quality that makes an adult willing and happy to read the book over and over again (Barnyard Dance, anyone?). But toddlers don't care about that, do they? If you are looking for a book sure to please your favorite two-year old, either of these titles is well worth a look.

Publisher: Tiger Tales Books (@tigertalesbooks)
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Source of Book: Review copies from the publisher

© 2012 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).