CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEW: LITTLE RHYMES FOR LITTLE PEOPLE BY JOHN WESTLAKE

LITTLE RHYMES FOR LITTLE PEOPLE

Author: John Stewart Westlake
Self-published RRP $19.99
Review: Monique Mulligan

From ducklings to currawongs, from dogs to pachyderms, Little Rhymes for Little People is a sweet picture book that taps into the captivating attraction children have to animals. Aimed at children 3-7 years, the book comprises 21 illustrated rhymes that pay tribute to all sorts of animals, land and sea.

The structure of the book into separate rhymes allows children the choice of where to read – do they want to read about the turtle first … or perhaps the goldfish? My children are well past the age of family reading time or picture books, but I imagine that they would have enjoyed choosing a starting point each time, as much as they would have enjoyed reading the book straight through. Some of the rhymes and beats work better than others; parents/teachers would benefit from a practice read through just to get the timing right. The rhyme scheme is fairly simple and doesn’t really stand out, but I think younger children will enjoy the conversational style.

The illustrations by Sophie Scahill are simple, colourful and eye-catching. There’s plenty of scope for extending the discussion by asking open questions – “What else can you see on this page?” – or closed questions like “Where is the bee?”

I’m a great believer in reading to small children as much as possible. Not only will Little Rhymes for Little People will help children discover language and learn about different animals, but it’s bound to be a fun addition to family reading time. I do think children as young as 18 months to two would enjoy it, but I’d revise down the upper age limit to five or six.

Available online from the author’s website and in selected bookstores.