November 08, 2016

How Do You Feel?

by Rebecca Bender
Pajama Press
32 pp.
Ages 2-5
November, 2016

Little ones often have difficulty differentiating between feeling, the emotion, and feeling, the sense of touch, and Rebecca Bender, creator of the award-winning Giraffe and Bird books (Giraffe and Bird, Dancing Cat Books, 2010; Don’t Laugh at Giraffe, Pajama Press, 2012; Giraffe Meets Bird, Pajama Press, 2015), has some fun word play with that to compare textures of a variety of animals.

The little hedgehog guides the story, going from animal to animal–toad, snake, duckling, rabbit, snail, and kitten– asking how it feels.  Each animal answers with a descriptive adjective –bumpy, smooth, fuzzy, silky, slimy and soft–and a simile that expresses and clarifies what each feeling is like.   And then all the animals turn things around and ask, "Hedgehog, how do YOU feel?"  Though they suggest a variety of textural synonyms for prickly,  the hedgehog does a fun shift in declaring he feels…"happy, like a hedgehog having his tummy tickled!"
From How Do You Feel? 
by Rebecca Bender
Pajama Press has started putting out these lovely padded-cover books for preschoolers that are so much more inviting to hold than ordinary board books.  With its soft, cushioned cover, the parade of animals within and the repetitive text, How Do You Feel? will become a popular read-aloud book for parents and teachers of preschoolers and kindergarteners.  The rhythm and predictability of the text offers great opportunities for little ones to suggest answers to each question.  It’s a great teaching tool.  I can just imagine parents and teachers asking, just as they often play that game asking what a dog or cat says, how a snake or a kitten feels.

From How Do You Feel? 
by Rebecca Bender

But, kids will see beyond the content of the book and fall in love with Rebecca Bender’s adorable creatures. Every one of them has darling eyes–all bright, some laughing, several inquisitive–and bodies of evocative textures that will delight little ones who will want to reach out and touch.  They’ll be surprised to only stroke paper but Rebecca Bender’s illustrations will still give readers starting points for further discussions.  It could be about the sense of touch–and the other senses as well– or about synonyms and the thesaurus or about similes and metaphors.  How Do You Feel? may be targeted for the pre-reader who will be charmed by the whole package of art and text, but teachers should look beyond the cuteness and see the book as having applications far beyond the very youngest.  That's how I feel.  How do you feel? 

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