I just found the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge and am so excited since it will help me focus on one of my personal goals for the year: Simplicity! You see, I have a horrible habit of reading multiple books at one time, putting my brain in overload and causing my library renewal pile to reach precarious heights. In fact, I am so inspired by the idea of reading one book a week every week for 52 weeks, I am considering doing what my husband always wishes I would do: returning all but one of my library loan books and only taking the others out again when I finish the one I keep. But, before I do, I want to catch up on the challenge by being sure to read and review four books. So, I will double up on the reviews for this week:
Making up for week one’s review: a Rich Review of Anne Meeker Miller, PhD’s, Baby Sing and Sign.(To see my criteria for Rich Reviews, please see this post.)
* * * * *
Baby Sing and Sign is very readable. Fairly wide margins, concise, yet complete how-to’s and busy-Momma-friendly formatting made it as easy for me to buzz through as to go back to as a ready reference. Song lyrics both in simple text format as well as with the musical notes, clearly black and white photos and captions of signs, bulleted tip lists and well-formatted “Games to Play”, among other things work to make the book accessible for first-time readers and for busy moms wanting to review specific songs, signs, activities and tips. And – bonus – it comes with a 13 song music CD! Thus it gets a definite star for readability.
I have already used portions of Baby sing and Sign with my kids, consulting it for some lyrics and signs during our living room music and movement times. I also plan to consult it for activities to be woven into a “class” that is being planned to keep 0-3 year old siblings of older co-op participants happily enjoying developmentally appropriate activities during a spring homeschooling co-op session. So, relevant? You bet! Whether for home use of for co-op or daycare provider use, if you have young ones in your life, Baby Sing and Sign definitely has some can-do-now-or-soon activities in it. Another star for relevance!
Likewise, Baby Sing and Sign is very practical. The book does not simply provide a random menu of signs that you can use with babies. Instead, it weaves 44 signs, which have been specifically selected to help children express their wants and needs as well as to communicate about common things in their environments, into developmentally appropriate games, songs, activities and literacy connections. In doing so, the book offers:
- Songs lyrics with specific suggestions for incorporating signs, movement and play while you sing.
- Tips for teaching the songs and signs
- Additional activities to adapt and extend the music and signs presented while continuing to engage children
- Clear instructions for making toys and laying games with inexpensive and on=hand materials
- Lists of age-appropriate books to read that fit the musical themes and signing vocabulary presented in the book
- Brief stories about child development and parenting related to the singing and signing with children.
Sing and Sign also has some FAQ’s, a photo dictionary of signs used throughout the book and a glossary. Another star – this one for practicality!
For longevity, I was tempted to give this book a mere ½ star, because, in all honesty, unless I keep having babies or begin teaching wee ones regularly in a few years, we will outgrow this book in about two years. But, since my now five year old likes the CD that comes with it, I think the CD alone will still be used in our home for another five years – until our baby is kindergarten-aged. And, besides, a book like this makes a great pass-along to a family with young children, a daycare provider or a library once you’ve gotten what you can from it. So, I am giving it a full star for longevity.
And value? Another star! A useful book and song CD* for under $18. That’s definitely a fair price and one we will consider paying next time Jack receives some gift cards! I can definitely see using this book and CD enough to warrant multiple lending periods from the library until we take it out.
*I admittedly had to let the voices and songs from the CD grow on me, but they have. The kids liked them right away.
And for week two’s review: Another book I have reread this year is Learn to Move, Move to Learn! Sensorimotor Early Childhood Activity Themes by Jenny Clark Brack. I simply love this book, which I reviewed previously here, and just adapted a lesson from it to have a wonderful snow-themed sensorimotor morning to go along with our children’s book of the week last week, The Snowy Day.
We’ll be back next week with two more reviews and, then, I think will be caught up and on our way to 52 Books in 52 Weeks, one book at a time!