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The Angle, November 2019 – Book Picks

If you’re like many parents and teachers, you turn to your Wi-Fi-connected device to research everything for children—and books are no exception! Beginning this month, our book review will now include a reading app recommendation that meets Child360 standards for both developmental integrity and family enjoyment. Whether you’re cozied up at home, or out and about with your child, every moment can be an opportunity for kids to venture into the world of reading.

A Parade of Elephants

by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow $18.99) Age 1-3

November 8 is 2019’s National STEAM Day, which celebrates and encourages students to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. Kids simply do better in life with a strong education in these interrelated fields, and it’s never too early to introduce STEAM concepts to them.

In a board book written for the earliest pre-readers, this cheerful parade of chubby pastel pachyderms traipses through the pages, introducing the subjects of numbers and shapes along with spatial concepts such as over and under, up and down. Achieving clear simplicity is more nuanced than it looks, and here acclaimed author and illustrator Henkes (honored with multiple prestigious children’s literature awards including Caldecott, Newbery and Geisel) shows his mastery.

Can You Eat?

by Joshua David Stein, pictures by Julia Rothman (Phaidon $9.95) Age 1-4

Thanksgiving brings happy memories of food, family favorites eagerly devoured by everyone. Everyday meals, on the other hand, are often challenging when finicky toddlers share the table. In the spirit of mouthwatering Thanksgiving bounty, we suggest two books designed to introduce children to unfamiliar fare, and make experimentation appealing to otherwise change-averse eaters.

The first is a whimsical board book that makes a game of identifying the edible from the non-edible, using clever rhymes and wordplay accompanied by lovely illustrations. From familiar items like grapes and apple pie, to nonsensical ones like underpants and elephants, the witty text (“Chocolate mousse? Alaskan moose? A mouse?”) will induce much giggling and—hopefully—a curiosity to try new delicacies.

Digital Reading Apps

The Cat in the Hat

by Dr. Seuss / for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire (Common Sense Media $2.99) Age 2+

Whether you’re just starting to explore the world of reading apps or looking for a fresh way to experience one of childhood’s beloved classics, this Dr. Seuss adventure is filled with delightful surprises. The multi-award-winning app is designed for beginning readers but contains enough vocabulary-boosting learning activities to engage kids through kindergarten level.

All the original text is there for conventional reading—including the “read to me” option featuring an audio storyteller—augmented by Seuss’s familiar illustrations animated to literally jump off the “page.” The developers have done a great job of retaining the book’s old-fashioned charm while incorporating tech-assisted learning on each page: click on objects to find hidden challenge games, vocabulary quizzes and enough fun enhancements that each reading is a fresh experience.

Note: Age recommendations are based upon publisher guidelines and parent feedback. Book prices are publisher’s list; discounts are usually available. App prices are current at time of publication; in-app purchases are often available.