Monday, December 8, 2008

Nina Laden: Button Nose

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.

Button Nose
Nina Laden (Author-illustrator)
Chronicle Books, 2008

Joan Holub ~author/illustrator


Little Willow said...

Woo hoo for reacting to sexist books/concepts and wanting to make something gender neutral! Kudos, Nina, on this and other books. (I am familiar with Peek-a-Who? for example.) I do wish that folks were able to readily recycle the plastic in which the soft cloth + bath books are contained.

Joan Holub said...

Thanks for stopping by, Little Willow. Good point about recycling the plastic. It doesn't have a recycle symbol on it. Peek-a-Who? is on my review list because it's also a favorite of mine. Nina said that one was her first board book idea.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Nina Laden is so cool and hip. She's contributed such great works for children!

Jone said...

I love this book. I saw it at the library conference this fall. REminds me I have to find one for my grandbaby.

Joan Holub said...

Me, too, Jone. I don't have grandkids of my own, but I ordered two of these for friends with two-year-olds. It's something kids will go back to again and again, rather than just giving it one try.

Ms Saba (aka Teacher007.5) said...

Wow, where can I find this book?? It will go great in my classroom. I'm a toddler teacher and I'm always looking for toddler friendly books to add to our classroom library :)

Anonymous said...

jajajaja, you make me feel like a child, I remember that for a Father day I used this cover to make a card for my old man, the inscription said "this myabe is not Viagra Online but is made it from my heart buttom".