Recently I came across a children’s book titled This Is Silly by Gary Taxali. A well-known illustrator, Gary Taxali is a new entrant in the children’s book industry. He is known to use comic characters to represent popular culture. This is reflected in the book as well and the approach is refreshing.
With lots of pictures easy on those tiny eyes, and lots of colours and very few words, the book is sure to catch the attention of little ones.
This Is Silly is about just that – being silly! It is about silly characters. The main character, Silly Sol, falls into a hole and enters the world of sillies. And gets to do all kinds of silly stuff. The reader goes on a journey with the silly escapades of Silly and his friends.
At the end of the book there is a mirror for the reader to look into his/her own self and commit to being silly. This is a nice touch, because the book has no great story line, so this personal surprise in the end is a quirky way of ending the book.
My one-year old daughter Myrah is most fascinated by this mirror and loves to look into it and laughs at herself. She is too young to understand any of the silly-ness, so the mirror is a great attraction for her.
I am a rather new addition to the world of children’s books and am discovering the fascinating world of children-friendly characters and stories. I go by what seems to interest Myrah and how she responds to a book. At this age, her attention span is very limited, the quicker you turn the page, the more attention she will pay. Colours fascinate her. So do touchy-feely things in a book (which is why the mirror is a success with her).
Given those standards, This Is Silly passes the Myrah-test. Every few days I take it out and it is a regular feature in our story times.
There are some areas for improvements for sure. The author uses some big, complex words which are way too advanced for the age group of children he is writing for. They don’t quite match the simple pictures either. Simple, easy to say vocabulary will make it friendlier to read. The pages of the book are quite flimsy for a young reader. I am discovering that Myrah likes to flip pages and play with the book as much as she likes being read to. So books are also toys for her. Especially for her age, the pages need to be harder and difficult to tear (oh, how she loves to tear page out of a book or magazine!).
Overall, This Is Silly is a good find. There is nothing quite silly about it.