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Book Review: Wiggle Giggle Tickle Train by Nora Hilb and Sharon Jennings

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Ever notice that the most beloved playthings in your home aren’t those that offer close-ended play opportunities (branded dolls for example), but rather every-day items that lend themselves to a variety of imaginary scenarios? Children seize the most mundane articles in order to recreate the world around them through play, which is indeed the work of a child.

Wiggle Giggle Tickle Train captures and celebrates this tender developmental stage by interspersing colorful photographs of life alongside soft illustrations of children relating to those images through play. Sharon Jennings’ rhyming text uses action-filled words to describe these flights of fancy.

Jennings’ rhyming scheme is not always uniform throughout the book, however, and sometimes the rhyming words are a bit of a stretch, “fast” and “laugh” for example. Due to this, the rhyming stanzas on each page aren’t as rhythmic or engaging as they could be.

There can be no doubt, however, that the delicate artwork of Wiggle Giggle Tickle Train appeals to preschoolers. From the moment my three-year-old spotted the cover she cried, “Can we get that book mommy?” Nora Hilb’s cheerful watercolor and colored pencil illustrations of children engaged in common acts of creative play resonate and appeal to all of the children in our home.

My toddler loves to sit on my knee as I read her this charming title, and I even find my six-year-old peeking over at the book from time to time, taking delight from the depictions of common childhood play. My little ones don’t seem as interested in the words I’m reading to them as much as they are captivated by the sight of a variety of children of varying genders, skin tones, and sizes immersed in the world of play.

As an adult, I’ll admit that I don’t quite find Wiggle Giggle Tickle Train as appealing as they do (though it is cute), but Hilb and Jennings obviously know what they’re doing, because they’ve certainly won the interest of my little ones.

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About Jennifer Bogart

  • I have a three-year-old and six-year-old at home too. It sounds like this book is a crowd pleaser for that age group.