Marthe Jocelyn and Tom Slaughter are increasingly demanding my attention with the way they’re filling the void that used to be filled with new books by Byron Barton and Donald Crews. What they’re making is perfect books for two-year-olds, and reading to two-year-olds, particularly in a group, requires perfect books.
Jocelyn and Slaughter’s Which Way? is kind of perfect.
In it, the authors explore transportation with strong and solid shapes, bold colors (red, black, and white dominate), and a straightforward text with just enough rhythm and rhyme to sound musical without becoming tediously bouncy. There are lots of things depicted that your average two-year-old can identify: an airplane, a boat, a car, a skateboard, a stoplight, a road, a stop sign. The vocabulary effortlessly includes fantastic words like “detour,” “journey,” and “destination.” It’s a book you can read, but also one that’s great to go through just to point at things and name them. When I use it in a storytime, I think I’ll be tempted to go through one time reading it, and then I’ll go through it again asking the kids to tell me what they see.
This is one of those books that’s going to do well in the collection, too, because it has a cover that draws your eye. I usually don’t love unjacketed books, but this one has a blue spine and red background filled with black, white, and yellow feet and cars that are so shiny they look lacquered. There was one copy amid a few shelves of new books we got in the other day, and it was the first one I picked up. After I picked it up and read it, I went to my office and put four more on order. You may want to do the same.