Baby William’s Book Tasting: Curious Baby

11 Jan

As a member of the UHP’s intellectual community, junior program officer William Chandler offers book recommendations beyond your syllabi.

photo (3)I may be a baby, but I aspire to great things: rolling over, flying like Superman, and using complete sentences.  And so I must take issue with the very sincere but ultimately unfulfilling “Curious Baby My First Words at the Farm, based on the classic character by Margaret and H.A. Rey.  (HOLY COW DID YOU KNOW THUMBS COULD DO THIS???) 

The book’s charming illustrations show beloved monkey Curious George in simplistic agricultural scenarios labeled with words, proposing to help me learn what is a “clothesline”, a “duck” and a “truck”.  As much as I appreciate those efforts, the book fails to create a conflict, character development, or a sentence.  (SERIOUSLY THUMBS?  YOU ARE AMAZING AND NOW I EAT YOU)  The pictures help to suggest amusing stories, such as the drawing of George opening the “pigpen” with a single pig’s snout just starting to leave the pen paired with a drawing on the opposite page of gleeful “pigs” in motion.  It is an indubitable thrill to live vicariously through those swine as they run, especially since I am not yet walking.

Illustrator Greg Paprocki takes advantage of the small format of the book to reflect the short format of the vocabulary.  Most of the pictures lack any ground line, suspending the objects in space and focusing the reader’s attention on the object for it’s own sake.  Also, it makes the pigs look like they’re flying!  Pigs are silly.

Today’s babies demand more than just words – we deserve sentences, stories, and style!  The deficit of literary substance is only partially compensated by the adorable illustrations.  That monkey and I have a lot in common! (THUMBS!!!)  A simple pleasure that’s easy on the teething gums, “My First Words at the Farm” earns a 3 out of 5 goos.


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