Friday, November 5, 2010

Stuart J. Murphy's I See I Learn Book Series

Stuart J. Murphy has created a new preschool book series designed to help young children learn skills important for school readiness and daily life. The books focus on social skills, health and safety skills, emotional skills, and cognitive skills.

Drawing on many kids' visual learning style, Murphy's new I See I Learn books feature inset pictures, diagrams, and highlighted words to reinforce the lessons told in these simple stories.

My kids and I recently checked out the first four of the books in this series:

Emma's Friendwich, which teaches the social skill of making friends.

Freda Plans a Picnic, which teaches the cognitive skill of sequencing.

Good Job, Ajay!, which teaches the emotional skill of building confidence.

Percy Plays It Safe, which teaches the health and safety skill of playground safety.

The books are very cute and fun to read. Each of the books features the same cast of characters so kids can get familiar with the whole group. The characters are kids, who are actually little animals. If asked to identify each animal, I'm not sure I could, but they're still cute.

My favorite character was Percy the Giraffe. I also very much enjoyed Pickle the dog.

There are a couple of features I really liked about the books. At the beginning of each is a map of the town. My kids all love maps, so they pored over these to see where each character lived in relation to buildings such as the school.

Each book also features an "A Closer Look" section at the end of the book to reinforce the lessons learned in the story. This is a nice way to really solidify the skills that the book is trying to teach.

For instance, at the end of Percy Plays It Safe, questions and pictures prompt the child reader to determine when Percy is playing safely and unsafely. The questions also ask the reader to think for him or herself as well, with questions such as "How do you play safe?" "What are some good rules for safe play?"

There is also an activity prompt at the end of each Closer Look section, asking the reader to draw, act out, or pretend something related to the story.

The books are very cute and a lot of fun. My children enjoyed listening to me reading them, but they weren't immediately drawn to them. (To be fair, my children are all a little older than the target audience here, which is preschoolers and pre-k.) I do like the books because they are books that teach skills and are not based on pop culture characters, like so many children's books these days are. They're definitely worth checking out.

Each 32-page paperback book sells for $6.95. Hardcover copies are $14.95 each. The four books mentioned here came out this past July. More I See I Learn books will be published in February 2011.

Honesty Clause: I received a free review copy of each of the books mentioned in this review.