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The Book Shelf – Nov. 22

Bang! Boom! Roar! A Busy Crew of Dinosaurs, By Nate Evans and Stephanie Gwyn Brown, 34 pages. @ SPL: JP Evans

A busy construction crew of hard-hatted dinosaurs are ready and eager to help preschoolers learn their ABC’s in this colourful new rhyming alphabet picture book. The industrious dinos are working with angles, blueprint plans, cement mixers, dump trucks, engines of every sort, forklifts and so on through the alphabet to get their construction job done, from A to Z.

Each letter is featured in a four-line rhyme with plenty of alliteration. For example, “H” is highlighted in “Hard hats, tool belts, heavy boots; Hammers hanging from their loops. Heave and hoist! Hydraulic muscle! Heavy metal, high-wire hustle!” The language and the mixed-media collage illustrations can be described as “energetic” in this fast-paced book, in which the dinosaurs are building a wonderful new children’s playground and park area. The wealth of detail to be found in the illustrations will bring children back to look at this book over and over.

A list of specific things to find in the busy artwork is also given – a lollipop, a cantaloupe, some bananas, walkie-talkies, skateboards, a megaphone, etc., as well as a hidden letter on each page. Children will also discern many touches of humour which the authors have included – such as the comic facial expressions of the other dinosaurs when one of them gives a tremendous sneeze, or the sight of the dinos eating, slurping and spilling their food at lunchtime.

Over 20 types of dinosaurs, plus a variety of heavy-duty construction equipment, plus lots of humour, is certain to equal a winning alphabet book for the preschool set!

** Recommended for ages three to six.

ABC Doctor: Staying Healthy from A to Z, By Harriet Ziefert and Liz Murphy, 26 pages. @ SPL: J 618.920075 Mur

From appointments, bandages and checkups to wheelchairs and X-rays, Harriet Ziefert and Liz Murphy’s picture book is a gentle, reassuring introduction to the world of medicine and doctors for young children. Using an alphabet format, the authors seek to familiarize children with the typical procedures and equipment that they are likely to see during a visit to the doctor.

Some good health habits – such as hand hygiene – are covered, and the book also describes a vaccination procedure. Simple, easy-to-understand text and mixed-media illustrations are used in this positive book, which ends on a happy note: a little boy who is sick and feeling “Yucky” visits his doctor and then feels a “Zillion times better!”

ABC Doctor would be a good book to read with a young child who is experiencing some first-visit-to-the-doctor jitters or fears. (It could be nicely paired with Barbara deRubertis’ comical picture book, “Izzy Impala’s Imaginary Illnesses,” in which young Izzy invents a number of impossible illnesses so that she can spend more time with her grandfather, a very busy doctor.)

– Sally Hengeveld, librarian

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