The contents of Animals Move actually begin with the 22 full-colour photos found on the book’s front and back endpapers. There, young readers will find 15 different adult animals accompanied by one or more of their offspring. The photos are labelled with the name of the parent animal plus the name given to its young, with an example being “Horse... ...Foal”.
The pages within Animals Move consist of double-page spreads in which two-thirds of each spread is occupied by a colour photo of the young of an animal with that juvenile being engaged in some form of movement. The other third of the spread reveals a child emulating the animal’s action. As seen in the excerpt above, the simple rhyming text consists of a single noun and an action verb. The book’s animals include the familiar, like dogs, cats, horse and birds, and the unfamiliar, such as geckos, echidnas and baboons. Similarly, some of the names given to the juveniles will be familiar to young children, terms like puppy, kitten, and perhaps fawn. Most, however, will be new additions to their vocabularies (as well as to that of many adult readers). Young readers will know many of the action verbs, words such as “swim”, “hop” and “snuggle”, but others, including “dash”, “wobble” and “groove”, may be vocabulary add-ons. The photos of the children are truly a rainbow of inclusivity. A closing page offers five suggested activities that parents could undertake with their children to extend the book’s content and to increase healthy active movement, with one being: “Take photos of your child doing movements inspired by animals and work together to make your own book.”
Animals Move is a perfect book for those youngsters who are transitioning from board books to regular picture books but who still lack sufficient manual dexterity to be able to turn picture book pages without possibly causing damage. The physical size and shape of Animals Move resemble what children perceive as being a “big girl/boy” picture book while the extra-heavy paper employed by Pajama Press helps to guard against accidental page damage. The book’s padded cover and rounded corners are an added safety feature for both the reader and the physical book. A vocabulary builder and movement motivator, Animals Move belongs in home collections, day cares and public libraries.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.