Engaging the Younger Child, with help from Tina Kaht

Younger children are often read stories to send them to sleep at night time. Often this is an important part of a bedtime routine and helps to expose children to books and reading from a very young age. This can of course only be a good thing, the question I want to ask is if bedtime is the only time that very young children should be reading or read to? And what kind of books will get them really excited?

Tina Kaht in her book ‘Zoo Day’ combines two techniques that are designed to engage children from as soon as they are able to understand what a book is. Firstly the book is beautifully illustrated with colourful pictures of beautiful animals. Children are drawn to bright colours, interesting shapes and pictures of living things from a very early age. The charming pictures in ‘Zoo Day’ accomplished this very nicely when shown to my young beta readers.

zoo day cover

You may have spotted the little green tree frog in the picture. He is a key part of the second strategy employed by this book to engage younger readers – a hidden picture challenge. For years ‘Where’s Wally?’ has enchanted children the world over. This is a slightly easier version for younger children. Your little ones will love the challenge of finding the frog hidden on most pages.

As a final hook the book is also mostly rhyming. Although some of the rhyme is not perfect there is still enough of it, and a good enough quality of it to keep children interested. Children do love rhymes – as any parent will be able to tell you when their toddler has been relentlessly repeating the same rhyme for over an hour, seemingly without drawing breath.

On a personal note I love the little tid-bits of facts that are hidden in the rhyming prose which start to introduce children to some basic facts about animals. Overall this is a great book and I would be happy to recommend it to parents and pre-school teachers for their bookshelves.


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