Title: Clap Hands
Author: Helen Oxenbury
Age Category: Infant to 2 years
Genre: Baby Board Books
Helen Oxenbury: Clap Hands
“Clap hands, dance and spin;
Open wide, pop it in;
Blow a trumpet, bang a drum;
Wave to daddy, wave to mum.”
Subjective Appeal of the Board Book
This board book has tremendous subjective appeal for children in the infant-to-2-years age range. One reason for this appeal is the themes the book engages. Young children relate happily to the familiar activities of clapping, dancing, eating, making noise (music!), waving, and looking to mom and dad for affirmation; these are highlights in a toddler’s everyday experience. Indeed, this board book often functioned for our children as a call to joyful imitation of the activities. The toddler will also recognize familiar objects such as apple slices, high chairs, drums, and babies (!), which will draw him or her to the book.
The illustrations in Clap Hands
There is also no small amount of humor in the illustrations. The disheveled hair, the drooping diapers, the missing shoes, the undone buttons, the sheer delight in noise-making, the oblivious mess-making, and the comically accurate expressions on the children’s faces all testify to the everyday hilarity of life with a toddler. While this implicit humor will mostly be a reward for adults reading this board book to children, older toddlers may also pick up on it, and enjoy it. Finally, young children will also enjoy the simple rhyming poetry of the words.
Developmental Value of the Board Book
In addition to its subjective appeal, Clap Hands
Moreover, even in their simplicity the rhymes are creative, and so they begin to expose the child to one of the characteristics of good books, namely creativity.
Finally, this board book subtly reinforces the toddler’s primary relational connection with mom and dad: after their joyful activity, the children portrayed in the book turn to mom and dad for approval; seeing this in the book has the effect of settling the young reader in these developmentally crucial relationships. Put another way, this board book gently affirms to the child the beneficial truth that her connection with her parents is important and good.
In sum, I give Helen Oxenbury’s board book Clap Hands
Thoughts? Start a discussion in the comments!