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Summary: This picture book asks lots of questions, helping you start conversations about attitudes and emotions. There are short discussion-starting rhymes with large, full-page pictures of people and animals. This is an interactive photo-essay that engages readers to answer questions about the pictures and themselves.
Type of Reading: family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 10
Interest Level: 4 to 9
Age of Child: Started reading with 6-year-old girl. Also read with 3-year-old boy.
Young Reader Reaction: Generally our daughter wants to explore the photographs (always going back to the picture of the chimpanzee). We generally read a few random pages at a time, then she resets her bookmark to show where she wants to start the next time. Our son loved the large and colorful pictures. He named the animal and would often guess the "emotion" before the text was read. I was surprised that he liked it as much as he did.
Adult Reader Reaction: For the younger audience, this is a book you explore in pieces. The photography is exquisite, and the message is wonderful. The authors do a great job of "breaking down" idioms and cliche in ways that have meaning for kids. Second reviewer: I thought the text was forced and some of the cliche phrases were stretched to fill the space. The rhyming is immature and forced, such that it defvalues the indended message.
Pros: Pre-readers, emerging readers and adults will enjoy this collection of photographs and affirmations. The pictures make great discussion starters, particularly for reading with groups of young children.
Cons: This is too long to be read in one sitting, especially if you're going to talk about the photos.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a book that will grow with your child. Whether you read one page at a time or study it cover to cover, it will draw you back for your daily dose of personal thought. It is an excellent discussion-starter for a classroom or church youth-group resource.
Educational Themes: There are many layers to this book. Use the book with infants and toddlers for object identification and to introduce feelings. As kids start school, talk about what they see in the picture (NOT what the picture "means"). In elementary school, go further and talk about the idioms and their meaning for life.