Friday, January 25, 2008

For my third review for the Young Readers Challenge, I have chosen three books to be reviewed as one. I refer to them as the Gossie Trilogy when, in fact, the titles are "Gossie", "Gossie and Gertie", and "Ollie". These are board books by Olivier Dunrea.

Gossie is a gosling. In the first book she is alone in her world with her boots, discovering all that is there to be discovered. The books takes the young reader or listener through Gossie's day and show how important her boots are to her. Then, the unthinkable happens -- she loses her prized boots only to discover them in somebody else's possession. Enter Gertie. This books parallels a toddler, or pre-K child's life with Gossie. It would be familiar to a child to see Gossie in her routine, not unlike the child's routine and to see Gossie have to deal with new interruptions to her life such as losing a cherised item and making a new friend. This books makes excellent use of concepts such as over, under, in, backward, forward, etc and provides familiarity in things like snow and rain. The sentence structure is very simple but provides a good vocabulary.

The second book, "Gossie and Gertie" introduces the two little goslings as best friends. They do everything alike and together, like wearing boots. Like the first book, spatial concepts are expanded, concrete situations are presented such as playing in the hay or swimming in the pond but intangible concepts are being introduced as well such as friendship, best friendship. The sentences in this book are longer and conversation is introduced.

The third book is Ollie. By this book, Gossie and Gertie are fast friends and exploring their surroundings in great deal in farther reaching area. They discover Ollie, who is an egg. They are intrigued. They are patient but Ollie doesn't want to come out. The concept of fear is introduced because Ollie is afraid to come out. He rolls away, he tries to hide, Gossie and Gertie try to make him come out and peck at him with their beaks but he won't come out. A bit of reversed psychology is in order, it seems, so G & G decide to tell him not to come out so the concept of reason is introduced. Suddenly Ollie realizes that he is alone and he waits -- then he decides to come out.

I bought "Gossie" to read to my infant grandson. However, the illustrations are so pleasing and the books so charming that I had to get the other two. The characters are shown in a natural growing progression with enough challenge to require problem solving but not harsh enough to result in any trauma. They are gentle books that children could identify with, they teach some life lesson as well as vocabulary and concepts.

Does my grandson like the books? I don't know but he likes to chew on them which is another reason I bought them being board books and all. I like them though and we read them every time he comes over.

I definitely recommend.

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