A Board Book Every Week: No 16
Incy Wincy Spider – Amazing Baby Books (Templar Publishing 2015)
We might not be very fond of spiders in real life, but in children’s stories and nursery rhymes it’s quite another matter. Incy Wincy Spider has long been a favourite, with its simple story, easy gestures and virtually one-syllable vocabulary. Again, in real life we say drainpipe instead of water spout, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Sun, rain, up, down – it’s nice clear stuff, and Incy’s jolly pragmatism chimes well with little ones who are constantly falling over and getting up again. Incy Wincy – you are role model.
This Amazing Baby version is great. The text appears on the left-hand page, with a bright picture opposite, each with textured section – including sparkly textured raindrops (my favourite!) The sun page is sunny yellows, the rain page is blue and grey. There are dots, checks, zigzags and spirals galore and many of the images have a thick black outline, the patterns and contrasts making this book appeal to small babies as well as older ones. The spider is glittery green, textured, and always cheerful.
The only thing I wished they had managed to include – texture on the spider web.
So – simple, effective and fun.
And I’ve just realised: Incy Wincy is neither a boy or a girl. So if it floats your boat, you could refer to our sanguine spider as a ‘she’.
Picture book blogger Library Mice has recently written about another Amazing Baby book here.
A Board Book Every Week: No. 10
This is a collection of seven nursery rhymes all about farm animals. Some, like ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’, ‘Horsie, horsie, don’t you stop’, and ‘To market, to market to buy a fat hog’ are familiar, alongside others that are new to me. They feel like old traditional ones, but everyone’s repertoire of nursery rhymes is different, and sadly some people’s is non-existent. This is a nice gentle introduction.
Here’s a good post about the value of singing nursery rhymes with babies. While I was trawling for some information to back up what I knew (from work and home) I came across, as usual, too many articles earnestly espousing something because it will help the child be a better reader etc etc. It is sad to see so much child development information couched in these terms, as if that’s the only worthwhile justification. Not everything in childhood should be about improving your child’s SAT score sometime in the future! There are more immediate skills to develop, and total value in just having a nice time, bonding with whoever is holding the book. School is a long way off and explaining everything in these limited terms is to disregard the wonder of being a very small baby to whom everything is new, and much of it pretty amazing.
But back to the book… Hens, cows, ducks and donkeys are all present in delightful felt appliqués with a folk art feel. Every page is like a simple home-made cushion, with a touch of embroidery or fancy braid (though I guess how you view that depends on the level of your sewing skills!)
The animals are bright and recognisable and there are some, but not too many, small details – flowers, trees, worms, butterflies – for pointing out later. There’s a bit of counting, a bit of animal noise-making, too. The whole thing is as gentle and fresh as the colour palette. And, as with all good baby books, you don’t have to stick to the text; you can just talk about the pictures.