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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Board Books – A Color Game for Chester Raccoon

A Color Game for Chester Raccoon Written by Audrey Penn. Illustrated by Barbara L. Gibson. Tanglewood Publishing, May 2012. Board book, 14 pages, Ages 1-3, $7.95 ISBN: 978-1-933718-58-3. Guided reading level: G; Grade level: 1; Reading Recovery level: 11-12

A Color Game for Chester Raccoon by Audrey Penn takes our friend Chester once again down to the board book level with this title focusing on colors found in a forest. Most board books that focus on color are simplified with one large colored item or several same colored items for each page. Not so here. In A Color Game for Chester Raccoon, the reader must use observation skills to identify colors within the forest. There are not too many colors on the page to make this difficult, but to those children just guessing by pointing at objects, this will be more challenging. I can see this helping parents prepare preschoolers.

The first page has Chester Raccoon gleefully pointing out a bird with white feathers. Astute children may notice that the background of this and all following pages is white. Since some of the bird’s feathers are other colors, there are opportunities for calling forth more vocabulary. The bird has black feathers with white spots and striped brown and tan feathers, also. While the author focuses on white, blue, yellow, orange, brown, black, and red, sharp parents will point out a color present on each page that isn’t identified – a pale forest GREEN.

I like this title because it encourages observation and suggests parents help children make color identification a game. Learning to play with a child is not always instinctive so this is an excellent choice for new parents. I can’t wait to take this north to Michigan for my new step-daughters’ baby shower. Since she’s having a boy, I am having a wonderful time choosing board book titles that I can’t wait to share with you. I think I could get the hand on being a grandma. I’m not even worried about them calling me anything other than grandma. I like it!

There is a moment of the kissing hand being given to both Chester and Ronny Raccoon. I love The Kissing Hand, and others in this series: A Pocketful of Kisses, A Kiss Goodbye, Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully, Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories, and the board book A Bedtime Kiss for Chester Raccoon. I am still waiting for an adapted version of The Kissing Hand for babies in board book format. I have used the stickers from The Kissing Hand and created my own stickers for kindergarten class’ storytime early in the year. For some of my students, simple affection like a heart-shaped sticker in their hand or a quick-politically-correct-one-arm-hug may be the most they receive in a day.

I was thinking about this recently while kissing wounded elbows and toes of my other new grandchildren. Just how many body parts do parents kiss while they are teaching? Fingers, chin, eyes, nose, cheeks, knees, elbows and toes? Perhaps we could produce the new parents guide to boo-boo’s and owies? Next, I’d like to buy the Chester Raccoon puppet to help in storytime. I hope that Audrey Penn continues to help Chester Raccoon face life as he grows.