Friday, April 20, 2007

My Granny Went to Market

My Granny Went to Market: A Round-the-World Counting Rhyme

by Stella Blackstone

Suggested: Read Alone Ages 4-7, Read Together Ages 0-4

If you are a granny with an incredibly adorable grand daughter (as if there is any other kind!), looking to get a wonderful gift, then, you cannot go wrong with this book!

In My Granny Went To Market, granny flies in her magic carpet, stopping at various places around the world to collect unique, exotic and charming things and brings them back for the little girl. And, that's not all, because granny buys a certain number of each item she finds in each place, making this a wonderful counting book as well.

First she goes to Istanbul, gets a magic carpet and then embarks on her trip around the rest of the world
Next she went to Thailand
And flew down from the sky
To buy herself two temple cats
Puyin and Puchai

Then granny goes to Switzerland, Russia, Tokyo, Peru among other places.

The illustrations have a folksy feel to them and are quite charming. It is hard to turn the pages in a hurry as each page offers a variety of images to process and appreciate. Plus, each page manages to capture the essence of the country/region/continent being depicted: Zebras, Gazelles and Elephants of Africa, Boomerangs and Kangaroos in Australia, to name a few.

In addition, while some of the items pictured there are new and exotic, some are very familiar and quite possibly already present in her environment - like the nesting dolls (Russia), or the kitties (Thailand), or the cowbells (Switzerland), or the masks (Mexico). This offers a great opportunity for parents to talk to their children about the various items collected in each picture, what is unique about those items, what purpose might they serve and what would you do if you had such an item at hand and so on. The illustrations are vivid and lush without appearing crammed or overwhelming.

The rhymes are nice and easy. In addition to introducing places and things, I find that they convey emotions and sounds beautifully:
...Granny sighed I've bought so much but nothing Japanese
"To Australia!" granny ordered...
...she bought five cowbells there that made a funny clanking sound

The last page shows Granny's purchases, from one carpet to ten llamas, providing a simple and compact method to teach counting.

When children start understanding the world around them, this book provides an opportunity to ask them where they would like to fly to and what they expect to find there.

This clear-cut and uncomplicated book will let the children venture outside their doorstep and get a glimpse of the world around them and perhaps inspire a few of them to become explorers and globe-trotters.

While this book is available at any online book store or local retailer, if time permits, please browse through Barefoot Books, the publishers. I love their philosophy. I admire their mission:
At Barefoot Books, we celebrate art and story that opens the hearts and minds of children from all walks of life, inspiring them to read deeper, search further, and explore their own creative gifts. Taking our inspiration from many different cultures, we focus on themes that encourage independence of spirit, enthusiasm for learning, and sharing of the world’s diversity.


Praba Ram said...

Sheela -

Love the concept! Nice to see a wonderfully written back-to-back review!

Thanks for the pointer on Barefoot Books. Barefoot books is awesome indeed - Cleo the Cat and Bear in a Square series are two we've read..! Like you mentioned, their underlying philosophy is to celebrate both folk art and story-telling traditions, and the illustrations are very colorful indeed!

I just got their spring/summer catalog by mail last week, and I was making a list for summertime reads for the girls. Interesting to me that we all are tuned in here at the same wavelength...Pratham books, Mama's Saris, Barefoot Books...I can go on and on... as to how the synchronicity in thinking is so clear!

Have a great weekend!

sathish said...

sheela, thanks for the pointer to barefoot book publishers..

their collections seems awesome!

Tharini said...

Wow Sheela...Barefoot is a wonderful website, which I can't wait to explore in more detail! This books sounds really eager to get it for Akhil and test it out....perhaps he can relate just cos his Grandma is here with him right now. :)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful review and what a great blog. I'm a Stallholder with Barefoot Books and it's a great company. My son and daughter love every Barefoot Book I've read to them ans I love introducing Barefoot to new families. FYI, they're having their Summer Sale until July 31. You can check it out at my site I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about Barefoot.

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