Saturday, June 12, 2004

Baby Radar

Nye, Naomi Shihab. 2003. BABY RADAR. Ill. by Nancy Carpenter. China: Greenwillow Books. ISBN 0688159486 [Suggested Ages 3– 8]

An exuberant toddler ventures out with mom for a walk through town. With her radar tuned, the little girl’s stream-of-consciousness allows us to see the world from a child’s perspective. She wishes to pinch noses, untie shoes, pet fury faces, and feed the fish. When her mother unstraps the little girl’s seat belt she is free to cause calamity. And after a brief romp, she snuggles back into her stroller. The day ends with a peaceful nap.

The large pen and ink drawings painted with watercolors are soft washes to create a world in which the toddler blends in with the rest of the world. The illustrations could stand alone without text to convey the message, but the brief statements made by the toddler make the adventure realistic (“Hot dog dropped.” “Mooshy mess.”). The relationship between the text and pictures create a unified whole.


Examine point of view. While reading the book have students think about point of view. After reading the book, have students write about their point of view on a given topic. When the writings are completed, students can read their stories to the class to show how everyone’s perspective is different.

Follow around a small buddy and record his/her reactions to everything.

Have children examine the illustrations without reading the text and try to tell the story as they see it. Then read the text, and discuss how the story is similar to or different from the story they interpreted through illustration alone. Go back through the illustrations and check whether they see things differently or see additional ways of interpreting the story after hearing the text.

Other stories about babies on the go:
Appelt, Kathi. BUBBA AND BEAU. ISBN 0152020608
Appelt, Kathi. BUBBA AND BEAU GO NIGHT-NIGHT. ISBN 0152045937
Ashman, Linda. BABIES ON THE GO. ISBN 0152018948

By Jill Howell

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