Little White Rabbit, by Kevin Henkes
Rabbit has some questions about what it would be like to be tall or green. These are similar to questions young children have as they begin to figure out the connections between themselves and the outside world, which is a typical developmental process at the preschool age. The rabbit does not have a question about mommy’s love for him. Mommy is waiting for him when he returns.
How to pick a great children’s book
The selection of books is as important as the selection of toys. Young children have incomplete information for understanding the world around them, which results in what we often refer to as “magical thinking”: explanations for things that don’t make sense to adults. Magical thinking can make it difficult to know what’s going on in a child’s mind, and may lead to unexpected reactions of fear or stress.
Here are some thoughts about selecting appropriate books:
- Look for pictures that may be scary to a young child. Is there a fire? Do the animals have long sharp teeth? Are there depictions of things that you know are troubling to your child specifically?
- Is the vocabulary suitable? Are the words scary, like yelping, snarling and hissing sounds. Are there references to violence or antisocial behavior – fighting or throwing things?
- Is it developmentally appropriate? Books for young children should be uncluttered and simple with a clear presentation of the important concepts. The first words that children learn are nouns – the objects of everyday life.
For more insights about selecting books and reading with young children, look at our original list of 100 great children’s books.
Book links go to Amazon, and will generate a small donation to Hanna Perkins Center when used to make a purchase.