cover image GOOD FOR YOU!: Toddler Rhymes for Toddler Times

GOOD FOR YOU!: Toddler Rhymes for Toddler Times

Stephanie Calmenson, , illus. by Melissa Sweet. . HarperCollins, $16.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-688-17737-9

Calmenson (Dinner at the Panda Palace) here offers 24 rhymes celebrating the milestones of toddlerhood—from early mastery of letters, opposites and body parts to the dawning of decorum ("Do animals have good manners?/ No, I don't think they do./ But you can have good manners./ Will you try? Good for you!") to bath time and bedtime. There's even an ode to potty proficiency: "I have my own potty./ I use it very well./ When I need the potty,/ I can almost always tell." Sweet's (Bouncing Time) full-bleed paintings of intimate domestic scenes and safe outdoor settings add to the fun. Calmenson makes a game of peekaboo into an opportunity to teach colors, "Peekaboo! I see blue!/ Blue ball, blue floor./ Blue cat at the door," and the artist takes her literally: her Matisse-like rendering of a slightly off-kilter room shows the ball in the foreground eyed by a blue tabby. The author poses a series of riddles about the parts of a playground and, while all the answers are pictured in the spread, Sweet places the swing, sandbox and slide across the gutter from their clues. The confident, multicultural toddlers featured here take on their world with bright eyes and calm smiles, while background washes of soft lime, cantaloupe and peach emanate a convivial glow. Calmenson and Sweet open the door to the world of poetry and the playfulness of language, and usher toddlers through it. Ages 1-4. (Sept.)