Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book Review: The Berenstains' B Book by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Creative and fun way to teach the letter B
Cons: Be gone, you naysayers.  There are none.
The Bottom Line
A fun way to teach
Many words that start with B
In amusing book

Bubbling with Big Fun

It's a daunting task, writing a book using just one letter of the alphabet.  It's something I never would have taken on.  But in The Berenstains' B Book, not only did they succeed, but they created a picture book classic.

The book is really just a list of things that start with the letter B, but the Berenstains have managed to create a story that's a lot of fun with it.  We follow the results when a bear, a bull, and a baboon blow bubbles and bike backwards.  What happens?  Well, they bump into all kinds of things.  And the more they bump, the more absurd the book gets and the more fun it truly is.

I don't think we had this picture book when I was young, but we did when my brother was the appropriate age.  He loved it, I loved it, and our parents loved it.  All four of us can still quote it, although sometimes it takes several of us to remember all the parts.

The book is fairly repetitive since most two page spreads repeat what has come before and then add the newest thing to the list.  It could certainly be boring, but this is where reading come into play.  If you use the right enunciation, you can bring out the absurdity of what is happening on the page.

And while this book is a list, the Berenstains find plenty of adjectives and multiple noun words (black bug's banana boxes) to use plenty of B words while keeping the story interesting.

The pictures are typical quality from a Berenstains book.  They look good if slightly cartoony and help bring out the absurdity of the story.  By the time things start to get really out of hand, the pictures spread out over two pages.  They pretty much tell the story, so once your child has heard the book two or three times, they can probably "read" this book to themselves and get the story right.

Make no mistake about it, this book does tell a story.  You don't get that until the very last page, but it also adds another laugh to things.

While this book is listed as an "Easy Reader," I think some of the vocabulary will be a little difficult for the very beginning reader.  Once they get into multi-syllable words, kids will be able to get through this one with help - if they don't already have it memorized, that is.

The Berenstains' B Book is a bold children's book, but it's a risk that pays off.  If you are looking for a fun way to introduce the letter B, you'll find this book fits the bill.  And you'll get as much of a kick out of it as your kids do.

Submitted in honor of the passing of co-author Jan Berenstain.

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