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In the Country: A Lift-the-Flap Learning Book
by Francisco Pittau & Bernadette Gervais
ages infant-7 16 pages Chronicle Books June 2005 Lift-the-flap    

Any parent or educator of young children knows the popularity of lift-the-flap books, and In the Country, with its bright illustrations and over seventy flaps to lift, will keep young readers busy.

The book lends itself more to being read one-to-one with a child or individually than as a group story because of the active versus passive nature of the reading. The story line itself is very simple, exploring the countryside. The text is very basic:
“In the country, we have lots of fun! We gather eggs….We hunt for bugs…”
Intrigue abounds with the numerous flaps to be opened, each with a short fact about the animal or object found in the countryside. On the first page, we lift a flap of a spider in its web, underneath is written “Spiders make silk and spin it into webs.” On the next page four flaps shaped as silhouettes of trees, upon being lifted, identify leaves, berries, fruits or nuts of that particular type of tree. There is one “fun” page where the reader can invent animals by mixing up flaps of upper and lower torsos. Children learn to identify different types of flowers common to most of North America; Buttercup, Forget-me-not, Pansy, Poppy, Daisy and Rose. One fascinating page shows the growth stages of a butterfly, chicken, pine nut and frog all in a multitude of flaps for each creature and plant. The child gets a good side-by-side comparison of different growth stages.

As well as the lift-the-flap experience, there are pull tabs making an owl appear in tree and showing the phases of the moon, while a turning wheel helps a peacock show off his feathers. Appropriately, the book ends with an exploration of the countryside’s nocturnal creatures.

The two-dimensional illustrations are richly colored and simply drawn. While some of the flaps contrast obviously with the background, such as clouds in the night sky, others introduce the concept of camouflage and the reader has to run his hand over the page to find them.

This book would be an excellent addition to any young child’s library and lends itself to those moments a young child likes to spend by him or herself with a book.

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