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For all of you who would love to make a full-time living from writing, I wonder if you've ever considered writing children's books? Toddlers' books are mind-bogglingly simple, with some of them consisting of just 4-5 sentences. How hard can it be to write a kids' book?! Take this little gem, for example - I'm sure you all know the kiddies' song "The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round", well this book consists of 8 double pages and contains no words but the lyrics to the song. How hard can that have been to write?!
Admittedly, some thought has gone into the production, so the design must have taken at least a few hours! The book is very jolly, utilising primary colours with busy drawings. It's square and chunky, and non-tearable, which is very important for books aged at this range (2-3 years), as ripping is infinitely more fun than reading, it seems. Each double page spread figures a drawing of the bus, full of people of all different colours and several animals thrown in for good measure (doves, butterflies, dogs, snails, hedgehogs, bunnies and so on). The driver sits at the front, as you would expect, and on each page there is a flustered character running after the bus hoping to jump on. Luckily this bus driver is unlike most real-life bus-drivers, and actually lets these latecomers board the bus, as you can see them relaxed and smiling as you turn the page.
Each verse of the story appears on one double page spread. The first verse, as you all know, tells us that the wheels of the bus go round and round, all day long. Next we find out that the wipers on the bus go swish swish swish, also all day long. After that, the horn apparently goes beep beep beep, all day long, which I think is an infringement of the highway code, but we'll let that pass. We learn that the driver says "tickets please, tickets please tickets please", that the parents on the bus go chat chat chat, the babies go wah wah wah, which causes the people on the bus to go shh shh shh, all day long. Finally, the children on the bus demand "party time", and amazingly they get it.
What makes this book a little more than just a picture book is the ingenious cut out holes on each page. The front wheel of the bus is cut in ever decreasing circles, with each layer a different colour. It's really really nice to put your finger in this and feel the layers - for me I mean, as well as for my daughter! It's very tactile. Then on each page you find a different cut out on, which draws attention to whichever bit of the song you're on - for example the wipers or the babies.
The illustrations were done by Annie Kubler and are very happy and fun to use. You can use the pictures to help your child's vocabulary in lots of different ways. There is a lot of action going on, giving you the chance to use lots of verbs, you can talk about how the passengers are feeling because their faces are really expressive, you can practise colours, animals and clothing, and we haven't even started singing the darned song yet!
You'd better know the tune already, by the way, as there is neither a CD nor musical notes to help you out! I don't think that's a problem for most parents though. I have yet to meet a parent of toddlers who does not know this song. There are at least two good things about the song itself; firstly, it's very repetitive which means it's easy for little ones to pick up. Secondly, it's easy to invent new verses as your whim takes you. Using the delightful drawings as inspiration we have added "the dogs go woof woof woof"," the snails go splhh splhh splhh", and "the bunnies go plop plop plop". (I think my husband invented the last one…)
i used to have a pop up version of this when i was little!!! nice review. Em x
RICHADA 28.10.2008 14:06
.....isn't the repetition what it's supposed to be all about though.....I just know that I'll be sorry for reading this one at lunchtime - I'll be humming that maddening tune all afternoon now.....even I don't need a CD or DVD to sing in tune to THIS!!!!!! R. xxx