Book: Things to Do
Author: Elaine Magliaro
Illustrator: Catia Chien
Age Range: 4-8
Things to Do, written by Elaine Magliaro and illustrated by Catia Chen, is a book of short poems, each focused on something a child might encounter as she makes her way through the day. Topics begin with "Things to do if you are dawn" and move on through nature (acorns, spiders, the sun, the moon) and school (erasers and scissors) and on to nighttime.
Elaine Magliaro's poems are joyful and read-aloud friendly. Some are quite brief, like this:
"Things to do if you are BOOTS
Splish in puddle.
Splash on the walk.
Make the fallen
While others are longer, particularly those later in the book. While the poems technically speak to the item in question (e.g. the sky), they often offer advice useful to the reader, too. For example, "Things to do if you are a snail" concludes:
"The wonders of your world are small.
Don't hurry by.
Enjoy them all."
Good advice for snails and kids, even as addressing the advice to the snail keeps the book from feeling didactic for kids. Nicely done!
The poems are presented using varied fonts, with important words shown larger for emphasis (splish and splash above, for example). The word "stretch" is shown stretched out on another page, while the letters in "bumpy" bump up and down. This is definitely a book to look at while reading it, not just one to listen to.
This visual display of the words is set against Catia Chen's luminous acrylic illustrations. The blurred edges of the pictures contrast with the crispness of the fonts, allowing words to stand out, even against full-page illustrations. The (somewhat androgynous) child seen on the cover makes an appearance in most, but not all, of the pages, interacting joyfully with her surroundings. The image surrounding the last poem, about the moon, brings Peter Pan's London to mind.
If you are looking to introduce a young reader in your household to the beauty of poetry and the wonders of nature, Things to Do would be a great place to start. I could also see this as a classroom read-aloud for second or third graders, though I think it's a bit long for library storytime. Recommended, and a book that brightened my day.
Publisher: Chronicle Kids (@ChronicleKids)
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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