cover image Calling All Toddlers

Calling All Toddlers

Francesca Simon, Susan Winter. Scholastic, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-531-30120-3

Simon (Where Are You?) and Winter (Henry's Baby) know what makes toddlers tick. This activity book overflows with cheerful rhymes to inspire dancing, learning, noise-making, role-playing and messes. Right from the get-go, the rhymes elicit participation: ""We've been quiet all morning,/ we're bursting to clomp,/ Watch out everybody,/ 'cause we're going to STOMP!"" Other pages prompt quieter responses, as in a spread of a playground scene that sends readers on a search for hidden children, or another entitled ""Making Faces,"" in which a series of rhyming questions calls for different goofy facial expressions in response: ""Who can be a ghost?/ and puff their cheeks out the most?""; still others teach colors or shapes. There's not a clunker to be found among Simon's rhymes. Her simple, timeless style recalls classic finger-play songs and playtime chants, and will tickle children getting their sea legs in the areas of language and preschool etiquette. Toddlers will easily spot themselves in Winter's gentle, realistic depictions of contemporaries acting silly, busy, naughty and nice in compositions reminiscent of Helen Oxenbury's. With an oversize square format and clean design, this is an ideal choice for sharing in any setting where preschoolers congregate. Ages 2-5. (Mar.)