Marc Brown's Playtime Rhymes: A Treasury for Families to Learn and Play Together

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Fingers ready?

Fingers set?

Fingers play!

It's time for Playtime Rhymes-a treasury of twenty favorite finger rhymes compiled and illustrated by the bestselling and beloved artist Marc Brown for the enjoyment of young and old.

From the clever Whoops! Johnny and funny Do Your Ears Hang Low? to the irrepressible Itsy-Bitsy Spider and rousing ...

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Fingers ready?

Fingers set?

Fingers play!

It's time for Playtime Rhymes-a treasury of twenty favorite finger rhymes compiled and illustrated by the bestselling and beloved artist Marc Brown for the enjoyment of young and old.

From the clever Whoops! Johnny and funny Do Your Ears Hang Low? to the irrepressible Itsy-Bitsy Spider and rousing Wheels on the Bus, these are rhymes to say and sing aloud, each with pictorial instructions for the correlating finger movements.

An interactive experience at its very best, Playtime Rhymes will get little hands wiggling, jiggling, pointing, pounding, bending, stretching, and dancing as children animate the rhymes, pore over the vibrant pictures, and share the fun with family and friends.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Leonard S. Marcus
Long before psychologists roamed the earth tracking preschoolers' fine-motor development, these charming games gave youngsters opportunities to hone and display their nimbleness and dexterity, to engage in a tender form of cooperative play and to stretch their imaginations. Here is interactivity pure and simple, with no batteries required, and learning the games from this well-designed book is itself surprisingly easy.
Publishers Weekly
★ 08/19/2013
Brown shares 20 favorite “finger rhymes,” using tiny iconlike boxes to demonstrate the hand gestures and bodily movements that accompany each line of verse. For “The Wheels on the Bus,” a cartoon boy mimics the movement of the wheels by spinning his hands round and round (arrows indicate movement); in the main illustration, a trio of passengers board a bus piloted by a cheerful redheaded woman in sunglasses. Other songs include “I’m a Little Teapot” (which features an anthropomorphic floral teapot and five teacups dancing around like ballerinas), “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and “Five Little Pigs.” Brown’s gouache and colored pencil artwork—which involves painting, scraping, and repainting gessoed wood panels—gives the book a vintage, weathered effect as it loosely guides readers through the seasons of the year and offers many hands-on opportunities for adult-child play. Ages 3–6. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Remember "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "I'm a Little Teapot"? Brown has collected more than 350 traditional finger-play rhymes for the very young, from which he has selected his favorite twenty. Creator of the popular "Arthur" series, Brown decorates each page with bouncy kids or animals playing, jumping, or having (mostly) a good, boisterous time. Each line of a rhyme has a tiny box next to it with a sketch showing the finger action. Though designed for today's kids and their families, many of the gouache on wood illustrations have a retro look—Brown says he was inspired by the work of early twentieth-century illustrators—which perhaps accounts for an overall sense of rural or suburban life and a dearth of minority children. His palette, though, is bright and modern, causing something of a mismatch with bees, bears, daffodils, teapots, and a monkey doctor who actually makes house calls. Country-style homes and outdoor scenes of trees, grass, snowmen, and garden creatures may not resonate with urban dwellers whose lives look very different. Still, the collection is interesting historically and perennial favorite, "The Wheels on the Bus," is right up to date with its female bus driver and more varied passengers. Especially fun is "Five Little Goblins," a Halloween rhyme Brown has illustrated with costumed trick-or-treaters cavorting under a huge orange moon. Preschoolers and kindergarteners may find the rhymes appealing, as will parents trying to hold off the complete surrender of the youngest generation to smartphones and texting. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
K-Gr 1—Fans of Brown's Hand Rhymes (Penguin, 1985) will be thrilled to see this new collection, which uses a similar visual format to teach rhymes and their accompanying actions. The book offers 20 participatory rhymes, seven of which were included in Hand Rhymes. Each one is colorfully illustrated using gouache and colored pencils on gessoed wooden panels. Paint was scraped away and overpainted in places to create texture. Small boxed line drawings match up with each line of text, suggesting interactive motions. Some rhymes are just for fingers ("Whoops! Johnny," "The Itsy Bitsy Spider"), while others make use of the whole body ("I'm a Little Teapot," "The Wheels on the Bus"). The well-known rhymes span the seasons. With its clean design and classic feel, this welcome title will be useful for programming and for adults who want to take home some of the fun from storytime.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Twenty of Brown's favorite finger rhymes, complete with tiny pictograms to demonstrate motions and actions for each phrase. Compiled from Brown's previous collections (Finger Rhymes, 1980; Hand Rhymes, 1985, etc.), all of the rhymes are classics. The words themselves will take adult readers back to childhood, and candy-striped endpapers and cozy illustrations painted on wooden panels give the whole package a decidedly old-fashioned warmth. Familiar rhymes such as "I'm a Little Teapot" and "The Wheels on the Bus" are mixed in with the simple (literally, only using one hand) "Whoops! Johnny" and "Sleepy Fingers." As with all folklore, there are many versions of these rhymes. Some individual words or actions may be different than remembered, but nostalgia will carry readers through. The animated gestures next to each line are relatively easy to imitate and will send hands whirling, fingers fluttering, and arms stretched out wide. Brown created all new illustrations for this work, but alas, some are only slightly re-imagined from his previous collections. Parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians will surely appreciate having these favorites in one treasury, but an additional spark would have been welcome. Just right for family play, while honoring the tradition of passing these rhymes to future generations. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316207355
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 311,530
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.36 (w) x 10.28 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc Brown

Marc Brown is the creator of the bestselling Arthur Adventure book series and creative producer of the number-one children's PBS television series, Arthur. He has also illustrated many other books for children, including If All the Animals Came Inside, Ten Tiny Toes, Wild About Books and Wild About You. Marc lives with his family in Martha's Vineyard.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Marc Tolan Brown
    2. Hometown:
      Hingham, Massachusetts and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 25, 1946
    2. Place of Birth:
      Erie, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      M.F.A., Cleveland Institute of Art, 1969

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Samantha Rivera for Readers' Favorite Five Little P

    Reviewed by Samantha Rivera for Readers' Favorite

    Five Little Pigs, The Itsy Bitsy Spider and The Wheels on the Bus are rhymes that nearly all of us have grown up with and they are rhymes that children tend to adore while they are younger. Playtime Rhymes by Marc Browne includes all of these rhymes and many more that the next generation of children will continue to love, remember, and pass on to their own children.

    This book was very cute and would definitely receive my recommendation for anyone with young children. It had several rhymes I remembered as well as some that I’d never heard before. I love that it has such colorful and fun images throughout and it’s full of happy and smiling children. It was also great that this book includes instructions for the motions that go along with each rhyme or song. That way, even if you don’t know the rhyme, you can still show your child how it goes. 

    For parents looking to teach their children some things from their own childhood, this is great. The motions will keep your child’s attention and so will the bright, colorful pictures on every page. Not only that, but the words are all printed large enough that your child will be able to learn to read by themselves. That way, you can read to them for a while and then you can help them learn to read to you. All round, I was very pleased with Playtime Rhymes and with Marc Browne’s style.

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