I’m taking a break from my regular non-fiction Word Wednesday representation and looking at a children’s picture book. A book that may help cross a cultural divide. I’m a UK writer for a predominantly US-based blog and there are many things the GeekDad editors insist on, like putting “re” the wrong way around in words such as “theatre” and “centre”, or taking “u” out of some words whilst putting “z” in others. It’s all very confusing.
The biggest problem we encounter, though, is when we discuss the size of our pants drawers and whether said pants have pockets or not. How the two definitions of pants came about I’m not sure, though I’m sure one of our very knowledgeable readers (and I daresay, contributors) could tell me. Failing that, I guess I could always ask Bill Bryson; he’s sure to know. Author/illustrator Katie Abey hails from the same side of the pond as I do, and in her book, We Wear Pants the pants in question are very much of the “under” variety.
What is We Wear Pants?
We Wear Pants is a fabulously engaging children’s picture book aimed at around 2-6 years old. My six year old loves it. Like all the best picture books it works on a number of levels. There’s nothing clever or arch in the book; there are no in-jokes for the adults to chortle over whilst their children remain oblivious. What it does have, is lots of different components that combine together to make it attractive to children and parents alike. It’s a book that will bear repeat readings and won’t tire out the parent’s doing so.
There’s no story as such. It’s a picture book that features animals wearing various items of clothing, starting with (under)pants. And that’s your children hooked already. Nothing screams “read me” to a child like a host of animals in their underoos.
The book has 12 double spread pages, each devoted to a different garment, so after pants, we have “wellies,” (Galoshes, I’m reliably informed is how they are known in the US. Who knew there were so many clothing ambiguities?) hats, coats, and scarves, plus a few more accessories to keep you entertained. Each page features a host of different animals often at a location that pertains to the clothing item being worn. The scarves page, for example, is set in a decidedly arctic tableau.
Each set of animals has a number of speech bubbles and annotations, explaining why they might be wearing that particular item, such as the sloth wearing safety goggles, though mostly the text is there to provide entertaining jokes. There’s also a cheeky monkey. A free spirit who refuses to wear what he’s told.
Why read We Wear Pants?
Your kids will have a blast with this book. Abey’s cartoon-like drawings are very engaging. There are lots of different things to see on every page. Many of the animals have a ridiculous charm that appeals to children’s sense of the absurd.
The book works on lots of different educational levels. For younger children, there are animals to name and types of garment to discuss. You can talk about the various locations in the book or what the different types of item might mean for the animals’ profession or hobby. As your children grow older, the text is pitched at just the right level to allow fledgling readers to decode and understand.
Everything in We Wears Pants works so well, making it a book that’s great to have with you on the move and one that will bear repeat viewings. It doesn’t require an adult to always be on hand for your child to access it, which is great, but the book is also fun to look over together. This is a lovely, charming book that is very far away from being “pants.”
If you enjoyed this review, do take a look at my other Word Wednesday posts.
If you wondered if author Katie Abey had any other gems that chime with modern parenting, check out this recent picture from her Twitter account. This picture is basically my life.
Disclaimer: I was sent a free copy of this book to review.