Thursday, December 8, 2011

Favorite Books for Toddlers Week - BOING by Nick Bruel

Text and illustrations copyright ©2004 by Nick Bruel

The day has come for baby kangaroo to learn to jump.  Mama and her joey are accompanied by their friends, grasshopper, frog and rabbit.  A koala sits in a tree munching on a leaf and observing them.  Mama begins to leap around producing a “Boing, Boing, Boing” while the joey watches attentively. The animals marvel, “Wowie, Yowie, Zowie.”
When it is her turn, with words of encouragement from everyone, the joey crouches, sticks her tongue out in concentration and leaps. She immediately falls to the ground. Each animal in turn attempts to demonstrate to the joey how easy it is to jump, the grasshopper, the frog then the rabbit, “Boing, Boing, Boing.”  Each time the joey attempts it, she lands flat on her face or on her back with a “BLOMP,”  “BLOOMP,” and “BLOP.”  The animals gasp, “Oh Dear!", "Oh My!", "Oh Golly!”   
With each failed attempt by the joey, the Koala inches down the tree.  Once at the foot of the tree, he strolls over to the joey and ask, “What do you have in your pocket?”   In a comical illustration, the joey begins to pulls out a multitude of assorted items from a book to a piggy bank, as her mama covers her eyes in mortification.
Once her pocket is empty, the wise koala encourages the joey to try again.  The joey does, and in the last page, which is a pop up, she succeeds, “BOING” to the delight of everyone.

BOING has been adored by all my children over the last four years. After what amounts to close to a thousand reads by me and by them combined, it will soon be placed into the baby box with great wistfulness.  There is not a lot of text but what there is, is quite funny.  Bruel’s brightly colored illustrations really provide great  entertainment.  The kids enjoy pointing out each of the items from the joey’s pocket, as I list them.  Toddlers delight in pointing out the butterfly on every page.  They all really laugh at the expressions on the various animals’ faces:  the joey scratching her head and sticking out her tongue as she concentrates, the animals covering their faces or closing an eye as the joey falls, the wry smile on the cuddly koala's face as he slowly climbs down the tree.

When I read BOING, the kids are all sitting on my lap and on the arm of the chair.  At the end, everyone including me quite frequently, the old mama, starts leaping around, shouting “Boing, Boing, Boing.” You see, on the last page, the animals provide an irresistible invitation to the readers to leap around.  A word of caution to parents: No matter how badly your children beg you to read this book, and they will, DO NOT READ BOING AT BEDTIME!!!

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