Thursday, October 04, 2007

BOB Books...finally

Oh, I have been horribly, horribly remiss. Several weeks ago, I was scheduled to review the BOB Books. First, I had the wrong date written down. Then my grandfather died. After that, I was simply overwhelmed I suppose. Ironically at the same time, I seemed to be suffering from the blahs. Is it possible to die of ennui? Finally, Marjorie shot me an email earlier this week asking, ever so nicely, (because Marjorie is one of the most diplomatic, lovely people I have ever met on the internets) if I had any plans to ever review the books because this was the last week of the campaign. So I am suitably shamed. And if I had checked my email earlier this week, I would have been shamed much, much sooner. Thus, here is my review.

I am no stranger to BOB books. As a former kindergarten teacher and staunch proponent of phonics, I like to stay familiar with the various phonics programs. SugarPlum seemed to have taught herself to read, so I never ventured to purchase anything like that. But last year, as Bear started learning to read, I got a set of BOB books to help him along (you know, since Mrs Kindergarten seemed to think that he was brain damaged or something). Then when I had the opportunity to have another set for him, I jumped at it!

Simply stated, BOB Books are lovely. They aren't flashy, colorful or exciting. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But these books have spare, simple stories with fun, minimalist drawings. Enough to help a young reader along in his/her reading but not so much as to distract. They have easy to relate to characters with easy names - Mat, Sam, Dot, and Cat. The books help early readers to stay focused on sounding out words and figuring out the "trick" of reading. Using a step-by-step process, they build skill and before you know it, your kid has read a whole book! How cool is that when you are FIVE?! They are great for building confidence in young readers - giving them a taste of reading success and assurance that soon, they will be able to read those exciting, interesting books that they bring home from the library. Bear beams when he reads one of these to me or SD. And he is always quick to grab one to read to Gray or Gram when they visit Candyland. In fact, he likes them SO MUCH that he asked to take them for Show & Tell. I'm going to talk to Mrs Firstgrade about that before we send them. Don't need to piss off another teacher!

As such, BOB books are not something that will hold a child's attention when he is being read to. Case in point, Bug was SOOO excited when I pulled the books out. That lasted about two minutes. He declared them "bowing." (That's "boring" to those of us without a speech impediment. Though not nearly as adorable.) These are not the books that he will pick for you to read at bedtime. They aren't, in my opinion, something to pick to get your three year old interested in reading. But that's okay. Save them for a couple of years when he can start to read to himself. At least that is what I am telling myself about Bug. If he makes parole by then.

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