Author & Illustrator: Mies Van Hout
Ages: 1-4 (Grades P-K)
Seen a butterfly with a mustache? Know what a baby porcupine looks like? Mies Van Hout leads you on a dynamic visual journey in her latest contribution to the world of Board Books: This is My Daddy!
Board Books can be well, dull. Not for the kids. Children love them, if they are done correctly. But, for adults, the lessons contained in a Board Book are among the most basic of lessons and, as a child often likes to repeat them over and over, they can start to grow tiresome on the reader. This is My Daddy!, however, provides entertainment both for the child and the adult.
In a series of vignettes, Van Hout lays out a simple question: Who is my Daddy? The reader is presented with a baby/toddler and four options of who the corresponding father figure is.
On the next page, the reveal: the Daddy! Van Hout layers clues into her carefully crafted illustrations so that even if you are unfamiliar with the particular species, you can make an educated guess.
In trademark Van Hout style, the visuals are big, bold and bright. The artwork on the “reveal” pages encompasses an entire two-page spread dominating the visual field and highlighting the father/child relationship. This, is particularly important as there are so few Children’s Books on the market that reinforce the father/child bond. This, is a welcomed addition.
Van Hout’s earlier work, From One to Ten, commands the same big, bold, and bright style of illustrations. The emphasis there, however and no surprise, is on counting.
When I reviewed the book with my child, I found that he was particularly drawn to precisely what Van Hout wanted him to count. It’s like she has a sense of precisely what to highlight in the picture, steering the child towards counting what is representative of the number in the double page spread. This is no small feat, as anyone with a child will tell you, from the moment they start to breathe, they have a mind of their own.
Yet, when Van Hout wanted my child to count wings, he counted wings; when she wanted him to count arms, he counted arms. There is a lot to be said for good art. And, he wants to go back to the book again and again.
One final note, both of these books are “sturdy,” a very necessary quality in a board book: the papers are thick and the book covers are padded making them easy to grab/manipulate. Sturdy books are a good thing; as both of these will be reached for again and again.
If you want to purchase a copy of either This is My Daddy or From One to Ten and support my endeavors at the same time, you can click on one of the links below. No extra cost to you, and it will help me out! More books to read, more reviews to do!
More books for this Age Group can be found here.
My thanks to Pajama Press for providing review copies of these books. The views expressed herein are my own.
Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.
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**Bite-sized reviews to wet the appetite.