April 27, 2012
From Head to Toe
By Eric Carle; illus. by author
2-4 Preschool Primary Harper Collins 32 pp.
978-0590222020 Hardcover $17.99
Animals do a lot of things with their bodies, from the simple to the complex. Penguins turn their heads. "Can you do it?" the penguin asks. "I can do it!" the boy on the opposite page replies. And so it goes, with animals performing physical acts and children mimicking their movements. The movements become progressively more challenging with a giraffe turning its head giving way to a cat arching its back and a donkey kicking its legs, but always the response to the question, "can you do it?" comes the answer, "I can do it!" It's an enthusiastic invitation to the reader to jump in and kick, wriggle and stomp with the animals, as well.
From Head to Toe is pure interactive fun, but there is a lot of education occurring within its patterned framework. The reader is introduced not only to a variety of animals, but to specific physical actions and body parts. The interactive text asks that children listen and follow directions, and practice both fine and gross motor skills while imitating the animals. A nice additional touch is the repeated declaration of "I can do it!" as part of the call and response, and as usual, Carle's collage illustrations are exuberant, appealing and hard to resist. A great choice for story times and group settings, From Head to Toe also works at home, being adaptable to siblings in a wide variety of ages.