What James Likes Best

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Overview

James is a lucky boy.
He has Mommy
and Daddy
and Grandma
and Auntie who all love him.

He has a best friend, Angela.

James lives in the city,
near enough to a fairground
to ride there in a yellow car.

He's near a bus line, too.
An express!

And what's more,
he already has four stories
written about him
in one book,
pictured in charming detail,
and just right for participation
by other boys and girls
of James's lucky age.

A little boy goes with his parents on an express bus to visit twins, in a taxi to visit Grandma, and in a car to see the county fair, then walks next door with his mother for a play date.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Schwartz (Bea and Mr. Jones) sets the stage for these four simple stories of a winning preschooler right from the title page. She pictures a boy in a hooded red sweatshirt waiting with his mother at a bus stop, catty-corner from a flower shop. An alarmed look on the mother's face is wordlessly explained with a turn of the page: Daddy, who was seen picking out a flower arrangement, nearly missed the bus! Then, "They get off at a red brick house./ There are two babies inside./ The babies are the same size./ They are twins." In a voice perfectly pitched for a preschool audience, Schwartz describes the symmetry of the household ("They have/ two rocking horses,/ two jack-in-the-boxes,/ two toy clowns," etc.). She encourages audience participation by asking after each caper, "And what do you think James liked best?" Several pictures from the preceding tale suggest possibilities ("Was it the two toy clowns?"), but the author wisely indicates no one answer. Youngsters will easily identify with these familiar excursions (a visit to Grandma and Auntie, a trip to the county fair, a play date) and will happily play a role in deciding which aspect of each James likes best. Schwartz's mix of scene-setting full-page illustrations and humorous smaller vignettes will capture the attention of readers young and old. Beginning readers can sound out the text, while pre-readers can point out the items described. An engaging exploration of timeless and treasured childhood pastimes. Ages 2-5. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-James, an urban-dwelling preschooler, goes on various short outings with his parents. They take a bus to visit a family with twins, a taxi to Grandma's house, and a yellow car to the county fair. They walk next door to a red brick apartment building so he can play with his friend Angela. After each trip, readers are asked "And what do you think James liked best?" Four suggestions are given and listeners have the opportunity to make a personal choice (there are no "correct" answers). The realistic, brightly colored, gouache and pen-and-ink illustrations chronicle everyday events in the boy's life. Ample white space gives the book a sparkling clean, uncluttered look, and the pictures are large enough to be enjoyed by a group. A cheery, appealing addition that is perfectly in tune with a young child's sensibilities.-Janet M. Bair, Trumbull Library, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
James is on the go in these four short stories targeted toward the preschool set. Schwartz (The Boys Team, 2001, etc.) has provided a wonderful introduction to chapter form in chronicling James's travels on a bus to visit twins, in a taxi to visit Auntie, in the car to go to the fair, and walking to a play date. What makes these tales unique is the childlike voice Schwartz employs in her simple repetitive narrative, emphasizing the colors, toys, sounds, foods, places, and animals that young children find remarkable. An adult, for example, may not remember mistakenly turning the windshield wipers "on and off, on and off, on and off." For James, however, it might turn out to be the most memorable part of the day. Each vignette ends with the question-"And what do you think James liked best?"-along with four choices guaranteed to evoke reader participation such as, "Was it the corn on the cob? Or the green snake? Or the train? Or was it the windshield wipers?" The cartoon-like pen-and-ink drawings complemented with lively colored detail are sure to appeal to young children. Especially amusing are "Auntie's funny hair" and Mommy's reaction when James and his playmate throw toy fruit down the stairs. (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781481425360
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 1/21/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Schwartz has written and illustrated many classic picture books, among them Bea and Mr. Jones, a Reading Rainbow feature; Oma and Bobo; Annabelle Swift, Kindergartner; A Teeny Tiny Baby (a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year); Some Babies, its sequel; How to Catch an Elephant; and The Boys Team, a finalist among the Riverbank Review's "Books of Distinction." She lives with her husband, historian and critic Leonard Marcus, and their son, Jacob, in Brooklyn, New York.

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    Posted December 4, 2010

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