Saturday 10 March 2012

These Are My Hands/These Are My Feet

These are My Hands / These are My Feet by Judy Horacek (National Library of Australia)
HB RRP $17.95
ISBN 9-780642-277480
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

Horacek, a widely published Australian cartoonist, visual artist, illustrator and writer, is surely known for her first step into the children’s book world for illustrating Where is the Green Sheep?. One half of this new, sturdy, square offering, filled with bold, bright colours, has readers exploring what their feet mean to them. Flipping the book over and reading from the other side, the story in the other half of the book has them do the same for their hands.

Rhyme that scans well is a pleasure to read, my favourite being ‘My feet take me places – walking, running, different paces. Hopping, skipping, jumping races, crazy, zany, backyard chases.’ There are so many reasons to appreciate our feet and where they take us and young children will easily identify with all those that are presented. The fun and varied illustrations that show children doing all kinds of activities, including those that leave footprints, are a delight.

When it comes to hands, Horacek herself said she was amazed at how our relationship with them is so different to that with our feet. Again, the narrative and illustrations explore how many different activities our hands are used for. My favourite is ‘My hands hold on to things, like other hands … to make a ring.’  The accompanying illustration shows eight children holding hands to form a circle. While similar in many ways, they differ in hair and skin colour and facial appearance. The one wearing glasses is especially cute.

Great use of shapes and colours make this an excellent learning tool and I’m certain that young children will never tire of going back over the book to spot the many things there are to see in the full, yet uncluttered, scenes. Likewise, I’m sure no adult could tire of reading this glorious text. It rolls from the tongue so easily and splendidly and will help children with language development. No child should miss out on exposure to these things and, as such, this is the perfect book for preschools at the very least.

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