Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Review: Corduroy

I recently posted about a ranking of top 30 picture books, asking readers for suggestions as to which books we should read next.  I really appreciated all of the comments to the post, and will keep them in mind as we pick books over the next weeks/months/years.  We have already gotten a few of the books suggested, but our review posting has been slowed down, since we moved this week.  I'm finally on my laptop for the first time in a few days, so I'll begin to catch up on reviews.   

First, the classic.  This was very enthusiastically recommended to me by Bookworm's BooklistChristy at Superheroes and Princesses, Teaching My Little Bookworm, AND Valerie at Frugal Family Fun Blog.  So, clearly we had to read it!

Corduroy (Hardcover), by Don Freeman. This is a classic tale of a lovable stuffed bear in a toy department of a large store, awaiting his new owner. Corduroy realizes he is missing a button on his overalls when a little girl's mother points it out. Adventures ensue as he tries to find it in the store. In the end, he gets taken home by the little girl who first spotted him, imperfection and all. It's a cute story, with a clear storyline, and a sappily sweet conclusion: "'You must be a friend,' said Corduroy. 'I've always wanted a friend.' 'Me too!' said Lisa, and gave him a big hug."


"Then one morning a little girl stopped and looked straight into Corduroy's bright eyes. 'Oh, Mommy' she said. 'Look! There's the very bear I've always wanted.' 'Not today, dear.' Her mother sighed. 'I've spent too much already. Besides, he doesn't look new. He's lost the button to one of his shoulder straps.'"

Bookworm's interest at 18 months: Unfortunately I couldn't get him to show any interest, I think because of the other two Corduroy lift the flap books I brought home at the same time (see reviews below). I tried it again today, but he spotted a sticker book nearby. I'll keep trying! I think the text is long enough that it would suit a slightly older child better. I don't think it's out of question for an 18-month old, though.

When I looked up Cordoruy in the library's catalog, I also spotted these two, which I thought we might enjoy:

Corduroy Goes To The Fire Station: A Lift-the-flap Book ( Based On The Character Created By Don Freeman) (Hardcover), by B. G. Hennessy. This "lift the flap" take off on the original Corduroy covers, as the name suggests, a visit to the fire station by Corduroy, his mother, and some friends. The text is somewhat lengthy on some pages (see excerpt). The illustrations are bright, clear, and adorable. A book sure to delight fire engine-loving toddlers.


"He shows them the special clothes firefighters wear. Everything is very heavy. It has to be to protect the firefighter from the fire, heat, and smoke. The firefighters keep their clothes downstairs near the fire trucks, ready to go. Everybody in the class gets a junior fireman's hat."

Bookworm's interest at 18 months: He loved this book so much that it eclipsed the original Corduroy book. Every time I tried to read the original, he'd run and grab this version again. His favorite thing about it is finding the dog on every page. It can be spotted inside the fire engine, running in a parade, hiding under a couch - sometimes under a flap and sometimes not. I ignored the text of the book after a couple of failed attempts at keeping his interest, and he loved it every "read" after that.

Parent's Peeve: I would have thought the length of the text would gear this book for a slightly older child, yet I generally think of "lift the flap" books as aimed at a younger crowd, so the age range is a little bit of a mystery to me. I guess like any book, it depends on the child. In any case, we loved it, so 18 months seems a fine age for it.

Corduroy Goes to the Library (A Lift-the-Flap Book) (Hardcover), by B. G. Hennessy. This cute take on the classic brings Corduroy to the library, through the rain, returning his books, enjoying storytime, selecting and checking out some new reads, and preparing costumes for a book character costume event. Like the Fire Station book, the text is a little lengthy for a squirmy toddler, but the storyline is one that any little bibliophile will relate to, and the illustrations are delightful. The flaps are an added bonus.


"Before Corduroy leaves the library he wants to pick some new books to take home. There are so many to choose from! Finally, Corduroy finds three books he likes. He takes them to the librarian and gives her his library card. She stamps the books with the date they are due back. Good choices, Corduroy!"

Bookworm's interest at 18 months: He enjoyed the first page, in which Corduroy hunts for his library books (under flaps). Unfortunately, he didn't make it much further, since the Fire Station version was nearby, and he kept asking for that one. I think even if I try reading it away from that version, he'll recognize Corduroy and want the Fire Station one. I would have pegged it as one he'd like, though!

Thank you for the recommendations!   What are your kids reading this week?


teachingyoungchildren said...

Clearly your bookworm is a true boy :) What can be better than a fire station. Anna really enjoyed Corduroy books (this one and a Pocket for Corduroy) when she was about 2 years old. In this particular case, I would also vote for this book's spot on top 30 list.

Shannon said...

This week, the girl & I are reading Happy Birthday Mrs. Piggle Wiggle together. She just finished The Great Tulip Trade and another similar style book on Helen Keller.

The boy & I are reading the Jesse Bear series (starting with Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?) as part of our Before Five in a Row activities. Jesse Bear was a huge favorite of the girl's, so the boy & I need to spend some time with him too. :o)

Britt said...

We're reading How to Heal a Broken Wing and There Are Cats in this Book! Thanks for reviewing them, my kids LOVE them!

Boo already has Cats memorized!!

Have you read I'm Dirty with your bookworm?
Mister (about the same age) LOVES loves loves it!!

Infant Bibliophile said...

Hi Britt,
I haven't read it, but I will track it down. Thanks for the suggestion!

It sounds like we should find the Jesse Bear series too!

I was surprised by how many Curduroy books there were in the library catalog. Maybe we'll try them again in another 6 months or so too.

MaryAnne said...

I feel like the text in the Corduroy books is geared toward older children, but then the stories (especially the sequels to the original) seem very much oriented toward young children. We tend to ignore the text and just tell the story, and my kids like the book that way... Then again, my kids tend to have very little patience with text; their current favorite is "Hurry! Hurry!" by Eve Bunting, which has 2-3 words per page.

Shannon said...

I think you'll really like Jesse Bear. I still do! :o)

Besides "What Will You Wear", we also like "How Do You Say It Today" and "What a Scare". I just noticed on Amazon that they also have board books of the series which I have never seen.

Christy said...

You are right, now that I think of it my children were probably 2 or older when we they started to show an interest in the original Corduroy book. We also have a Corduroy birthday book and Valentine's book that they used to love around that time, maybe earlier - they are board books.

Rebecca said...

My son is 2.5 but got a bunch of lift-the-flap Cordoroy books when he was a baby. What I really liked about them (and him too) is that they grew with him. At first he would just look at pictures, then he learned to lift the flaps, now we can sit and read the story while lifting flaps. It's also one of his favourite books to 'read' on his own.

The school one is really great too - he goes to preschool in the fall so it gives us a chance to talk about school.

Great post!