"Say Hello Like This"

If you’ve ever sung “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” to a child, you know how much youngsters enjoy hearing the sounds that animals make. A new book offers even more opportunities to give voice to honks, clucks and hee-haws.

Take a gander at “Say Hello Like This!” the April Baby Buzz Pick chosen by parent educators in the Washington School District. It’s sure to delight.

The following review was written by local literacy advocate Nancy Nagel.

“Spring is here and it’s time for the baby critters to greet each other in this bright new picture book. Each spread features an animal pair delightfully saying hello to each other in their own language.

“ ‘A chicken hello is flappy and clucky . . . like this! Cluck! Cluck! Cheep! Cheep! A beetle hello is tiny and tappy! Tip,tap,tip,tap,tip,tap . . . A donkey hello is silly and happy..like this! Hee-Haw!’

“But one happy greeting is missing until the last page as you, the reader, are invited to say hello in your own unique way.

“The illustrations in this appealing book are done with ink and watercolor and rendered digitally. Heavy black outlines are filled in with cheery pastel colors to create a bright, happy story.

“Toddlers will enjoy making the animal sounds. You can encourage your child by joining in the fun and making more exaggerated sounds. They also will fine-tune their motor skills by turning the flap pages. Guide their hands as they try over and over. Encourage children to also use their large motor skills as you read the pages ‘A frog hello is jumpy and croaky . . . like this! Croakety croak! Jump up and down like a frog!

“Older children will enjoy tracing the large sparkly orange letters of the word ‘HELLO.’ Children develop literacy skills by using all their senses. Your child might enjoy a sensory activity. Spread shaving cream over a small, flat surface like the kitchen table and let her ‘finger-paint’ pictures and letters.  

“Start with what’s most important, her name. Or cut out letters from a textured material like felt or sandpaper and watch your child delight in feeling her way through the alphabet.”

Other parent educator favorites this month are, “Who Can Jump?” and “Who Can Swim?” flap books by Sebastien Braun; “Princess Baby, Night-Night,” a board book by Karen Katz; “Sophie’s Terrible Twos,” by Rosemary Wells; and “Go! Go! Go! Stop,” by Charise Mericle Harper.