To my delight, I recently received a box of board books from Little Simon (Simon and Schuster Children’s Books) to read with my toddler. We’ve had a couple of weeks to check them out and here are my thoughts!
Dinosaur Dance by Sandra Boynton
I’ve always liked Sandra Boynton’s books and I think her fans will be pleased with her latest book. Like Barnyard Dance! and Moo, Baa, La La La!, Dinosaur Dance is simple in concept, but as fun and interactive as the reader makes it. Try adding some fun voices or singing and getting up and dancing like the dinos in the book. Do the cha cha cha with your toddler…and it’s sure to be a hit!
Dear Zoo Animal Shapes by Rod Campbell
This fresh take on the beloved classic is really cute. My toddler loved seeing the familiar animals but I think we both missed those lift-the-flaps. I would recommend this one as a precursor to the original Dear Zoo–especially to parents who fear their little ones will rip those dear little flaps.
Where is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz
A favorite in my house for several years, this was our “gateway” book to the wonderful world of Karen Katz. (Zoom, Zoom, Baby! is another fave.) The colors are bright and the flaps are durable in this adorable, educational book. Where is Baby’s Belly Button? and the original Dear Zoo are my top picks for lift-the-flap books and among my favorite birthday gifts for 1-year-olds.
Cinderella (Once Upon a World) by Chloe Perkins, illustrated by Sandra Equihua
The bright illustrations in this retelling are striking and beautiful. Set in Mexico, Cinderella’s white, ruffled gown with floral detail is very traditional. There are other cultural features in the illustrations such as tamales wrapped in plantain leaves and conchitas (a Mexican sweet bread) are represented. The ending has a small change to the original that I loved–the prince recognized Cinderella even in her “rags” because her “true beauty shined through.”
Snow White (Once Upon a World) by Chloe Perkins, illustrated by Misa Saburi
I really like this retelling of the classic fairy tale. Set in Japan, details such as pagodas, cherry blossom trees and a tatami room (where the 7 dwarves sleep) are conveyed. The story is simplified as much as possible and Saburi’s pretty, yet muted, illustrations set the tone for this slightly dark tale that we know has a happy ending. And if you’re worried about that part from the original where the wicked stepmother sends Snow White with a huntsman into the forest, it’s downplayed for little readers.
Overall, this was a great selection. I love the new Once Upon a World series because it offers a multicultural take on familiar fairy tales. All of the books are written by Chloe Perkins but each is illustrated by an artist of the culture represented in that particular story. My husband is Japanese-American so I easily recognized some of the Japanese details in this version of Snow White. I deferred to a few friends for some of the specifics on the retelling of Cinderella. (Thanks, ladies!) These are the first two books in the series and a version of Rapunzel (set in India) is scheduled to be released in March 2017.