Sunday, September 04, 2011

Pre-K Primer: Everything I Need to Know Before I'm Five by Valerie Fisher

Every once in a while the right book comes along at the right time. Just in time for the first day of Kindergarten we have Valerie Fisher's brand-new Everything I Need to Know Before I'm Five (Schwartz & Wade, 2011) which promises "Everything I Need to Learn Before Kindergarten" in one volume. And it does cover those basic skills--numbers up to 20, upper and lower case letters, colors, shapes, weather words, seasons, and opposites--that Kindergarten brings.

Fisher's jellybean-colored, Walter Wick-like photos of toys--trucks, rubber duckies, dinos, miniature dolls--and found-object yard-sale bric-a-brac are eye catching, humorous, and illustrative of the concepts presented on each bright white page. For example, in the series show opposites, two plastic doll figures demonstrate "EASY" standing simply with arms out and "HARD" in the same pose but balanced in a precarious handstand. In the series demonstrating "PUSH" and "PULL" these same versatile dollies shove along a fat green frog bigger than they are. Blocks spell out colors as well as show them, and novel plastic figures such as a flamingo portray the letters of the alphabet. Kids will pore over these ingenious illustrations on their own as they unconsciously absorb the ideas and terms behind the retro-styled photos.

Reviewers rave and buyers brag over the merits of this little concept book, with Publishers Weekly awarding it a starred review. If you have a rising Kindergartner or precocious preschooler (and aren't they all!) around the house or know of one, this is a must-have.

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