Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We recently received copies of Eric Rohmann's 2003 Caldecott Award-winning My Friend Rabbit in board book format and I absolutely love it! Because the story is largely told through the illustrations, a young child can begin to piece together events even without a parent's help. The variation in line expresses texture and movement, helping children to begin to understand basic visual concepts. As the book continues, the visual language actually gets quite complex, with instances of simultaneous succession and the use of motion lines. For the very young, simultaneous succession (the depiction of a character in multiple poses in one frame) can be confusing, but I think Rohmann's usage of it and motion lines are wonderful in a boardbook, especially as he builds up to them. If a child sees such devices from a young age, he or she will learn how to read them more quickly. On a more basic level, the bold lines and bright colors will attract even infants who are beginning to pick out shapes and colors. From basic visual concepts to more complex storytelling devices, My Friend Rabbit is a book that grows with a child, providing an enjoyable story and visual education elements for a number of developmental stages.

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