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Teach Me to Love Review by Tess Hamre

Denise Brennan-Nelson
Sleeping Bear Press
315 Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

At first blush, this book seems to appeal only to very young children. With short sentences, little text, and words that rhyme, this book isn’t one that an older child is going to just pick up and read to himself. Sleeping Bear Press lists the interest level for Teach Me to Love in the 0- to 4-year-old range up to age 6. This book will delight young children. They will enjoy snuggling with a parent or older sibling and hearing the text read as they share the photographs together.

Because the text rhymes and is simple, this book also makes a great reader for children who read at a first or second grade level. The text may seem too young for them, but being able to read to themselves and to explore the full-color animal photos will motivate the young elementary student to read the book.

As an adult, I found it fun to share this book with my developmentally challenged daughter. She’s not quite ready to read it to herself and is just on the cusp of being slightly too old for the book to be a read aloud. We enjoyed it because of the gorgeous photography. Each two-spread page has text on one side and a slightly larger than full-page color photo of an animal family on the opposite side. The photograph spills over to cover approximately one-quarter of the text page but does not interfere with the text. Often the text relates to the animal in the photo. The rabbit wants to learn to hop; the monkey wants to learn to swing and climb. Most photos show mama with baby or babies, but some, like the one with the cheetah cub that wants to run with speed and grace, are just the babies.

Some of the things the baby animals want to learn, such as how to play and how to share, are clearly more appropriate for baby humans, and this book provides a great way to discuss sharing and playing with your young children. While reading this book to my daughter, we would pause and talk about what needed to be learned. We discussed how important it was to share. We also would pause to talk about the picture. We’d talk about what animal it was and perhaps what sounds those animals make. We’d also talk about whether or not she could do things like smile and laugh and giggle.

My daughter enjoyed looking at the real photographs of animals and would spend her quiet time just flipping through the pages. When she is reading a bit more fluently, I know she’ll enjoy reading this book to herself.

My 15-year-old daughter babysits frequently. I’ve given her permission to include this book in her babysitting bag. It would make a great introduction to animals or character training or just plain cuddling while reading aloud.

-Product review by Tess Hamre, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2014