Children going forth into the world. For ages 2 through 7
INTERRUPTIONS! The Line Up Book, written and illustrated by Marisabina Russo (Greenwillow Books, New York, $11.75; 24 pp.; ages 3-6), is dedicated to all children whose mothers interrupt their playtime. Sam has just dumped all his blocks on the bedroom floor when his mother calls him to lunch. Captivated by the idea of ``measuring'' his way to lunch, he lines up books, bath toys, shoes, and all manner of cars and trucks. But his mother has almost finished counting to three, and he is still two feet short of the kitchen. Children will be delighted with the clever way Sam reaches his goal just as Mom yells ``Three!''
This is a delightfully simple book for preschoolers. Moms who read it aloud to them will be encouraged to be more patient, and toddlers are given a simple lesson in obedience as Mom and Sam realize together that mutual respect is fundamental to their loving relationship. The gentle message is that compassion and love build a secure environment that allows for imagination and successful exploration, as the well-being of the child is nurtured and affirmed.
Every child experiences a first haircut, and Jeremy's First Haircut, written by Linda Walvoord Gird, illustrated by Mary Jane Begin (Albert Whitman & Co., Niles, Ill., $10.25; 24 pp.; ages 2-5), helps to put that event in a healthy perspective. As little Jeremy sits anxiously in his highchair, clinging to his favorite teddy, he hears the scissors behind him go ``Sneee-ep!'' He yells ``No!'' and ducks, and the scissors catch a gob of his hair as he scurries away. Not even chocolate chip cookies can entice him back.
Later, when Dad arrives home, Jeremy is willing to try again. With Mom holding his hand and Dad making funny clown faces, he manages to get a haircut -- and suddenly his whole world seems bigger. He is no longer a little boy, but rather a little ``big'' boy.
The tender, sensitive way in which each of this little one's fears is addressed gives this book lasting value. In fact, it covers the territory so realistically and capably that it might help young children view other new experiences with less trepidation and more spirit of adventure.
Some Things Are Different, Some Things Are the Same, written by Marya Dantzer-Rosenthal, illustrations by Miriam Nerlove (Albert Whitman & Co., Niles, Ill., $10.75; 32 pp.; ages 3-7), is another contribution to helping small children experience new environments in a positive way. In the context of two friends visiting each other's homes and the differences they encounter, children will discover that things and places that are different can provide a wonderful adventure. They also learn that nothing is ever quite as grand as one's very own home!
This book shows that when a youngster leaves the familiar borders of his own home he can continue to express affection naturally to others, thus proving that he takes his self-confidence with him wherever he goes.
Good Night, Pippin, written and illustrated by Joan Elizabeth Goodman (Western Publishing Company, Racine, Wis., $9.95; 40 pp.; ages 3-6), is a bedtime storybook likely to become a favorite and frequent choice of young listeners. The story radiates warmth and embraces children in a secure feeling of family caring and unity. Parents will be drawn in as well, for almost all of them have been in the same situation as the Mama and Papa Bear of this story: Little Pippin won't go to sleep without one last story. What follows is a trilogy of ``last'' stories, with each member of the family taking a leading, heroic role.
Pippin's story is the best, because she saves both Mama and Papa from the purple, beagle-like Galactians. In her tale, they have invaded her home armed with freeze beams and have zapped her parents -- freezing them solid. When the Galactians come for Pippin, however, she is playing her tambourine, a noise so dreadful to them that they ``dropped their freeze beams, rolled up their ears, and cried orange tears.''
While the action in this story might be pretty dramatic for preschoolers, kindergartners and on up will be totally caught up in the exciting episodes, which are clearly make-believe to an older audience.
While still affirming the significance and value of good parenting, One More Time, written by Louis Baum and illustrated by Paddy Bouma (William Morrow & Co., New York, $10.25; 32 pp. ages 2-5), confronts a different side of the coin and an all too prevalent social phenomenon, the divorced parent. In this tender, heart-rending story about a father's short Sunday visit with his young toddler, Simon, the father is ever conscious of his restricted time. He is well organized with his checklist of ``boots, coat, bag, boat, book, picnic basket, and stroller.'' Simon, in turn, tries in his little-boy way to stretch his time with Dad, and is always asking, ``One more time?''
The sailboat gets one more ride around the pond, Simon feeds Dad one more tomato -- and wants to hear his favorite story read over and over again. Dad, on the other hand, frequently asks, ``All together?'' Used with reference to his checklist of boots, coat, etc., one feels moved with compassion, because this is precisely the point -- they are not all together as a family.
One of this book's strengths lies in its spirit of objectivity, rather than sentimentality, about divorce. The reader is not manipulated into a judgment about the little boy's situation, but rather is allowed to discover on his own, page by page, the substantial and meaningful relationship that is possible, whether families are ``all together'' or not, when the people involved are thoughtful and caring.
This book may help divorced parents and their young children understand the dynamics of their interaction a little better because of its perceptive and heartfelt portrayal of a most challenging situation.