Saturday, August 20, 2016

Which Way? UP...DOWN...ACROSS by Corina Fletcher and Natalie Marshall

Everything's relative!

And when it comes to locating things in space, that's tricky! Human speech does it with special words that indicate relative position, words that are hard to explain except in concrete examples.

And that's where a preschool toy-and-movable book like Corina Fletcher's Up Down Across (Sterling Books, 2015) can come in handy. In a very appealing design and with striking use of color, this board book features charming illustrations of different sea creatures illustrating words like BELOW, BEHIND, BETWEEN, AND ACROSS, as well as the basic UP and DOWN.

A mother seal bear and young one are up on an ice bank, down on the ice floe, and below the sea as they swim away. One jellyfish is in front of another, behind the other, and in between two jellyfish. Four different colored fish take turns as they go inside the kelp and through it and out the other side.

To make the words expressing position change more concrete Fletcher and illustrator Natalie Marshall provide pull tabs which allow the sea creatures to move from one rectangular opening in the pages to another as they change position in space. And to begin the transition to reading, not only do the animals move, but also the words themselves, so that when the seals move below sea, the word below moves into view, making the concept of spatial position concrete.

This book is a fun way to teach relative position to the very young while also exposing tots to the concept of the book as a way of representing what goes on in the physical world as well.

Pair this one with Fletcher and Marshall's companion board book, Small Smaller Smallest.

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