October 6, 2014

Newfoundland A to Z

P is for Puffin: A Newfoundland and Labrador Alphabet
by Janet Skirving
illustrated by Odell Archibald

Skirving and Archibald take readers on a tour of Newfoundland and Labrador through simple verse and expository text. It's a good, easy introduction to the province, but there are a few minor problems. Rhyming alphabet books don't always work and these four-line poems are good examples of that. Their often clunky rhythms don't trip off the tongue very easily. Much better is the informational text, contained in sidebars, that is clearly geared to older readers. 

The book's publisher, Sleeping Bear Press, has a whole series of these dual-audience alphabet books, which can cause problems, depending on your point-of-view. Very young readers (ages 4-6) may bypass the unremarkable verse (and the harder words) in favor of the pictures, while older readers (ages 7-10) will enjoy the nonfiction text but may find the "baby" words distracting. However, these books are very popular, with seemingly no end in sight, so choose carefully.

Incidentally, while I was in Newfoundland recently, I found a similar book called A Puffin Playing by the Sea: The Twelve Days of Christmas in Newfoundland and Labrador by Gina Noordhof. It has informational text as well, but paired with a poem that is more palatable. I thought the pictures could have been funnier, but it definitely has its charms (and a very cute puffin!). You can purchase it at http://www.shopdownhome.com/item.php?id=3400.

No comments: