Today I’m going to use my blog to help promote a book called Annie’s Special Day. This is part of an organized blog tour and I received a free copy of the ebook in exchange for writing about it. That said, I get to say what I want about it.
Annie’s Special Day is a colorful picture book about a young girl’s birthday. Most pages of the book represent an hour of her day, moving from her waking up in the morning at 7:00 till she falls asleep 24 hours later. The day includes her time at school, supper with her family and then a sleep-over party.
In each page a clock shows the time. Some of the clocks are analogue and some of them are digital, and I like that the book included a variety of types of clocks including the one on a cell phone and on the kitchen stove. After reading the book we discussed the different types of clocks and where we find clocks around our own house, including the clocks on our electric thermostats and computers. The hanging wall clock is a rarity in our lives, so I like that it is featured just as one of many types of clocks around.
At the same time I think it important that the book does include analogue clocks, and I think that learning to read an analogue clock is important not because I think my children will very frequently have to read them but because learning to read them helps reinforce the skills of counting by fives, understanding angles and fractions of a circle. Besides, what child doesn’t want to be able to call off “enemy sighted at three o’clock” while playing a hide and seek game in the bushes? We practiced that skill using a sheet of paper and some toys, with me describing where objects had to be placed relative to the object in the center. Place the playmobile horse at five o’clock, and the playmobile cat at 11 o’clock.
My four year old was excited about the book and asked for me to read it to him several times. We dug out our toy clock so he could sit and show the hours along with the story. Then we set to work making a little booklet showing his day, hour by hour, though the nighttime hours of his book are quite a bit less interesting as sleep isn’t optional here.
My almost two year old was also delighted with the book, as the pictures are big and clear so she could recognize familiar objects and name them.
The one thing I found frustrating about the book is that some of the pages end with the first few words of a sentence that would be continued on the next page (though the first word on the next page would be capitalized as though it was the beginning of its own sentence). I suspect it was meant to help keep the pace up and connect the events that flow into each other but I find it doesn’t work well with the pace my children like me to read at. When I finish reading a page they want me to pause so we can examine the pictures and talk about it rather than have me flip the page quickly to finish the sentence.
My favorite details include the teacher saying “criss-cross apple-sauce, hands on your lap” at the start of a lesson and the sounds of different birds at different parts of the day. I liked also challenging my children to watch for clues to what time of the year the story takes place in.
The author of the book is Clara Bowman-Jahn. She volunteers with her local elementary school and her church, and she’s dedicated the book to her sister, a kindergarten teacher. She has a blog http://clarbojahn.wordpress.com/ and if you go back through it you can get a bit of a sense of the journey it takes to bring a book into its published form.