Saturday, September 13, 2008

Policeman Small by Lois Lenski

Policeman Small by Lois Lenski was another of the books I came upon while browsing the children's shelves at my library the other day. I read several books by Ms. Lenski when I was a child, but I am not sure that I actually read her "small" series before now.

Ms. Lenski wrote and illustrated over 90 children's books in her lifetime, so it's no surprise if you have heard of her, but are not familiar with all of her books.

Ms. Lenski was inspired and wrote the "Small" series while her son Stephen was a toddler in the 1930s. In this particular book, you follow Policeman Small through his day as a traffic cop. Policeman Small was published in in 1962, but the illustrations depict life from another era -- the story could (but for the cars) easily take place anywhere between the 1940s and the 1960s. Almost all the men wear suits and hats and the women are in colorful dresses and wear gloves and hats with feathers or flowers. The pictures are in full color and are rather cartoonish, but such fun.

I am most familiar with Ms. Lenski's work through two mediums -- her writing in the Newbery Award winning story, Strawberry Girl and her illustrations in the early part of the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. But if you are looking for a great read-aloud story for your young child (age 4-8 years), or even your toddler, the "Small" series is a great addition to your library.

Policeman Small is 56 pages long (half are pages with words and half are just illustrations). The story is told with easy words and simple sentences, but because of it's length did require two-sittings (reading time before naps) for my daughter before we could finish it. Some good news is the fact that most of the Small series are available (in print) new and used, so you should be able to find a copy through any of your book stores (though you may have to order as they might not be on the shelves), or possibly even at your library.

To learn more about Lenksi's books available check your bookstore or visit Amazon's website.

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