This is one of my favorite kinds of books for toddlers because it teaches in a painless way, and it allows children to take charge of an activity—in this case it’s practicing the basics of uncomplicated fastenings. Made of cloth, Button Nose includes five interactive parts: a button, a zipper, tying laces, Velcro, and a snap.
The dog on the cover has a large pink button as a nose, which can be unbuttoned to reveal the first page of the book. There is also a rabbit with ear-laces and a turtle that snaps. My favorite is the “zipper teeth” page, which shows an alligator with a green zippered mouth. When the zipper is unzipped, its teeth actually look a bit like alligator teeth. Very clever.
Inside Info: I’ve met author-illustrator, Nina Laden, at various writing events, so I asked her to give me some background scoop on the development of this book. Here’s what she told me:
“When I was a child, I had a cloth “book” called “Dressy Bessie.” Basically, it was a girl wearing clothing that you had to button, zipper, tie and snap. There were no words, and it was, in my mind, a little sexist. (Was there a “Dressy Dan?”) When I came up with “Button Nose” I knew I had to play with the simple words and tasks, and use animals to teach kids the motor skills they need to dress themselves. However, in order to submit this idea, I had to literally sew up the book. I am sewing-challenged. Thankfully I can do some simple things, so I bought cloth, buttons, zippers, snaps, laces and Velcro and put a dummy together. I drew the illustrations with marker on the cloth. Chronicle had never done a cloth book either, and it took about nine months to get the right materials and the best manufacturer.”
Note that this book is packaged in a plastic container, so you may find it hanging in a bookstore, rather than on a shelf. The book itself is about the size of a potholder and the cloth makes it easy for little hands to grasp.
Nina Laden (Author-illustrator)
Chronicle Books, 2008
Joan Holub ~author/illustrator