… but these two new books for toddlers might help. Maybe. I mean, these are toddlers we’re talking about, after all!
by Anthea Simmons
978 1 84939 295 2
Audience: 2 – 4 years
In this board book, a preschool is slightly disgruntled about the results of enforced sharing. Some of her favourite things get ruined, and she is not particularly impressed. Over lunch, she sees a chance to get back at her mom, and as it turns out, her afternoon is far more enjoyable with this new cooperative attitude, no matter how she arrived there. By bedtime, the siblings are positively harmonious. (Why does this not happen in my house?)
A British import, this book’s illustrations are reminiscent of Tony Ross’ books about the Little Princess or Jeanne Willis’ work, being simple and bold, but effective at conveying emotions that may not be spelled out explicitly in the text. It works here – the text alone would have me wondering why she was being so improbably sweet after having all her favourite things trashed, but the conniving edge hidden in her offers to share is revealed on her face. For parents looking for a way to make light of sibling conflict or who want to make their older child feel understood, this has both a bit of humour and a very nice resolution. Score!
by Shutta Crum
978 0 375 86711 8
Audience: 1-3 years
This sweet little book contains but one single word: Mine. It’s all that’s needed, really, as the illustrations do the work here, showing a wee toddler trying to keep hold of all of the toys, until it becomes more fun to relinquish control over them and help the baby and the dog dunk them all in the dog dish, instead.
It’s cute, but not cutesy, and a near guaranteed smile, as the joy on the wee faces is just so contagious. The incredible simplicity makes it perfect for sharing with a toddler, and gives lots of space for talking about what you see and what is happening, which is a great way to help a child learn to “read” pictures (an important skill in early reading!). This is a real delight, and has a chuckle-worthy little twist at the end.