100 First Words
Lauren Crisp and Thomas Elliott
Caterpillar Books an imprint of Little Tiger
Britannica’s 150 First Words
Claire Laties Davis and Kasia Dudziuk
It’s interesting to look at the different approaches taken in these two recently published board books, the first being a compact book with a different theme per spread. It is easily held by small hands and has animal characters ‘At Home’, having fun with ‘Toys and Games’; there are ‘Colours’, ‘Pets’, we see what’s ‘At the park’, explore ‘Food’, ‘Clothes’, ‘Parts of the Body’, spend some time ‘On the Farm’, watch ‘Things That Go’, see animals ‘In the Wild’ and finally it’s ‘Bedtime’.
Single words label all the items depicted illustrated on Thomas Elliott’s brightly coloured spreads.
The second is a large format compilation that goes beyond the 150 named items by means of a narrative that takes little ones through a day from wake-up time to bedtime as they follow nine children from around the world through their daily routines. We wake up with John and his family; join Padma and her mum at breakfast time; meet Camille and Tong as they play; go out and about with Hugo in his pushchair, destination the park where he joins the other children and their adult carers. Then poor Ali takes a tumble but happily Dad is there to come to his aid before the two walk home.
By now it’s time to cook dinner and we watch Matias and Dad in the kitchen, Dad at the stove cooking the family meal they all share. Bathtime is spent with Tasha and finally, we pay a visit to Anna at bedtime.
This one is compiled by Claire Davies, a speech-language pathologist who used her knowledge of child development for the book in which she includes a search and find element: objects from the main scene along with a photo of the featured child are shown in a colour strip beneath each of Kasia Dudziuk’s thematic scenes.
Both books are useful for parents and carers but which would you choose, I wonder.
I think the latter has more potential in the long run.