Thursday, May 5, 2011

Making Waves

Words are power, especially for toddlers.

When they learn to speak, toddlers go from 0 to 60 in one minute flat. Suddenly, they can ask for things by name, make jokes, express their personalities. Liesbet Slegers knows how to connect with this age group, as she proves once again with Bathing. Her simple black outline and her focus on just a few things on a page—a washcloth mitt with a fish on it, a shampoo bottle with a smiley face—help smallest children to focus, too. There’s just enough on a page to keep them interested without feeling overwhelmed.

Also, she’s not afraid to incorporate slightly more challenging words like “faucet.” She uses it in context (“Look, water is rushing out of the faucet! The bathtub is filling up with water”), and she pictures it clearly, with the toddler hero pointing at the faucet. In 12 pages, Slegers moves the child from running the water in the tub to drying off in a towel. She takes everyday activities and makes them feel like adventures. And to youngest children, they ARE adventures. It’s a constant process of discovery, as if to say, “Look what I can do! I’m making little waves in the water.”

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