I Can Help by David Hyde Costello

I Can Help is a simple tale. It starts with a baby duckling who gets lost in the tall grass. The monkey, from his tree high above, offers to help. In turn, the monkey has a problem and is helped out by a giraffe…. and so on until it comes back around to the baby duck again. The message is simple enough for young kids – if we offer help to others, help will be given to us when we need it. Ok, enough said

The fun part of this book is the *way* it’s delivered. The illustrations are clear and bright, simple but not cartoonish. The text is even better. It’s very few words, but lots of opportunity for you to dramatize. “Uh oh, I’m falling” becomes “Uh oh! I’m faaa.a.a.al.l.l.l.l.ing!”, for example. The animals -an African savanna collection – are fun, as well. Just how do you *do* a voice for a giraffe, anyway? There’s plenty of predictable repetition, too, so the kids can join in with you. It’s a quick read, but a fun one.

Available on Amazon

I Can Help by David Hyde Costello. Farrar Straus Giroux 2010.

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500 Cats by Jill Rappaport


500 Cats

A simple little book about the everyday life of a kitten who lives with 500 CATS. You have to say it that way – bold and emphasized – because that’s the fun part of the story. It repeats every few pages, making it predictable, and soon enough the kids will be saying it (shouting it) along with you, to many giggles.

The text is simple and to the point, and lets the live-action photography shine. The star of the book, a sweet grey tabby, is predictably cute, and the photos of a lawn-full of cats fascinated my kids.

The second page discusses the fact that the star-kitten once didn’t have a home, and is now waiting for a family and a new home, but he’s staying in this nice, fun place for now, so it’s not disturbing at all.

The endpages provide information on Cat House on the Kings, the no-cage sanctuary featured in the book, for curious grownups.

Available on Amazon.com

500 Cats by Jill Rappaport, with Lynea Lattanzio, Photographs by Bob Carey. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009.

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