Hutton’s charming little board book, the newest in a series, encourages young children to explore the pleasures of real books with real pages.
On his website, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital pediatrician Hutton, backed by multiple studies and research, talks about the importance of real books and nonelectronic play in the development of very young brains. “Children are not small adults. Their brains are different. Their bodies are different. Their spirit is different. Their needs are different,” he says. Hutton would like to see all children “stay screen-free until 3,” and he recommends judicious use of electronics thereafter. He may have crafted his children’s’ board-book series with that science- and research-fueled viewpoint in mind, but don’t expect a heavy-handed approach. His new entry in the endearing series is illustrated with joyful color and adorable renderings of a snug, childcentric world. Its celebratory simplicity conveys Hutton’s “books are wonderful” message with a feather-light touch. Each page features clear and brief text made interesting with color changes and small variations in style. (“Adventure books: pirate ship! Zooming cars!” / “Lullabies—yawning moon, twinkling stars.”) One page is even a “find all the books” game. In Kang’s peaceful illustrations, children cozy up with a dad for read-aloud time and go to sleep with a mom’s bedtime story. They read under a tree, on the floor, on a picnic blanket and on a bench with a squeaky mouse. They learn that books can be about “anything dreams can plot.” If that means “[h]appy hippos driving trucks—okay, why not?”
Gentle, joyful encouragement for young readers and pre-readers to discover the rewards of a good book.