When you go for a walk.
Let’s find out!
There’s so much outside.
City Bugs and City Critters, brief board books, follow the same structural pattern, and both open and close with the same words [see Excerpt]. In between, five pair of facing pages find young children on their walk and experiencing aspects of nature in their local community by using three of their five senses, namely sight, hearing and touch. Each book also asks the same series of questions:
What do you find?
What do you see?
What do you hear?
What do you feel?
What do you meet?
In each pair of facing pages, the question is posed on the verso or left-hand page while the answer, in both a visual and text form, appears on the recto. The children who appear in the stock, full-colour photos are a mixture of boys and girls of various races.
In City Bugs, the children encounter “Busy ants”, “A spotty ladybug”, “A buzzing mosquito”, “A squirmy caterpillar” and “A dainty butterfly”. Somewhat oddly, the closing pair of facing pages shows a little girl holding a snail, something that falls outside of the board book’s titled scope. Perhaps Banyard was trying to suggest there is more to see in nature, but that’s a pretty big conceptual leap for the book’s intended audience.
City Critters finds readers meeting “A curious squirrel”, “A fat frog”, “Fluttering pigeons”, “A silky rabbit” and “A hungry duck”. Unfortunately, the photo chosen to represent the rabbit shows a domestic, not a wild, rabbit.
Given that one of the purposes of board books is to contribute to young children’s vocabulary growth, City Bugs and City Critters offer what are possibly some new nouns and adjectives. While not essential purchases, both books have a place in home and library collections.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.