Friday, September 6, 2013

Review of Greene Bark Press' Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again

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Author Ginger Pate experienced a life changing event that prompted her to write this charming book. When she was a child, she was hit by a car. While she survived, she once tutored a child who was hit by a bus and did not. Knowing this gives reading Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again from Greene Bark Press a lot more meaning. The author *really* cares about your child's safety. She doesn't want you to go through what she has been through!

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This board book, recommended for ages 3-8 is 28 pages long, costs $8.50 and is delightfully illustrated. The main character, pictured on the cover, is Wally Waddlewater (I know - it is quite possibly the best name ever!). In order to mail a letter to his grandmother, Wally must cross many streets and, in order to cross those streets, Wally must learn the rules of crossing streets.

Ginger Pate has managed to do something that is a bit challenging for authors of children's board books: she has written one that truly is enjoyable for all ages! In Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again, Wally learns to listen as well as to look in order to make sure the street is safe to cross. He learns about the dangers of railroad crossings after first thinking that blinking railroad crossing lights are red flashing eyes! He even learns to wait to cross the street until no elephants are blocking his line of sight!

Now, although this book is recommended for ages 3-8, my kids are, I think, too old to really be the target audience. At 12, 10, 8, and 8, they have been crossing the street for awhile. We don't appear to live in as big a city as Wally (or, rather, we live in the suburbs), so our kids' main challenges were definitely learning to be safe in parking lots! Wally's lessons are as applicable in parking lots as in busy streets, so just because one does not live in a busy city does not mean that there is not much to be gleaned from this book. Further, just because one knows how to cross the street does not mean that this book is not an enjoyable read. My eldest daughter had this to say:

"Wally Waddlewater is adorable. Watching him learn to cross the street is entertaining and endearing." - Therese, 12.

My other three kids just loved having a new book for me to read to them. Since we are past the stage where I buy board books, getting to review one was an unexpected treat. Something I don't really consider is that, while we love going to the book store or library and coming home with armloads of meaty books, there is a simple joy in opening up a glossy, well-written and well-illustrated picture book. How much better if that picture book is one that can teach a message in a non-preachy way!

Look Left, Look Right, Look Left again gets high marks from everyone in my family! See what other Crew families thought by clicking the banner below.

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