- Book Style: Moral based Storybook
- Reading Level: 2 (Read with Help due to: some advanced vocabulary, longer pages)
- Reading Length: 7-10 minutes (FYI – we never account for questions from your little ones)
- Illustration: Cartoonish, simple, fun!
Lisa McCoo is a storybook for toddlers and younger children that tells the story of little Lisa McCoo who lost her kite. She comes up with a number of ways to get it back, and finally succeeds. Each time Lisa makes an attempt, she displays great confidence and resilience. Our author, Baldwin Saer, has come up with a way of telling this story and teaching your children how to have confidence, just like Lisa McCoo!
For me, the best part of this great little book is the way the moral delivery. There’s no escaping the clear messaging around confidence, resilience, and ingenuity.
See, every time Lisa misses getting her kite back, the author repeats that Lisa McCoo “knows just what to do”. She then comes up with a new way of retrieving her kite, and each method she tries is more interesting. What’s more, each method is more fun! Every single time Lisa’s plan misses the mark, you’re brought back to the same picture of little Lisa with her arms crossed. You (and your little one) can’t help but notice her head held high and her face as sure as ever.
Through reading this book, your toddler will learn:
- That Lisa will simply try until she succeeds.
- Failure isn’t the end, and…
- That staying calm in the face of failure helps you to succeed.
If you ask me, that’s some pretty deep stuff. I love how this specific moral challenges the toddler age in a targeted way. I don’t know about you, but if my little guy is struggling with an activity, he’s likely to throw himself to the floor in a fit of rage. This book challenges that pattern and I’ve even made reference to it and seen progress. That’s nothing short of a miracle in my mind. Can you imagine a toddler without tantrums?
What also strikes you about this book is the sheer volume of words that are just plain fun. Our author even throws in a few made up ones. Now, I know when I read some books with words that are made up, I worry that they’re interfering with my child’s learning. I can honestly say that with this book, I didn’t worry about it at all. My little guy loved the new words because they were fun, but also because they were used to rhyme with another word. Although I haven’t confirmed with Baldwin what his intention was, my sense is that he was teaching vocabulary through the use of these rhymes. I don’t know what a bang-a-rang doo-ey is, but I’m pretty sure my child will know what a buoy is! Get me?
One small item that enhances the use of rhyming is the cadence of the story. It’s incredibly well crafted, and I think that comes from the fact that this book is born out of a poem the author wrote. As the I read the book, the rhymes came and the rhythm flowed; I could feel my little guy learning about little Lisa and her lost kite.
Now and as always, it’s important to know a bit about the author. In this case specifically, understanding the author helps to understand just how much depth there is to Lisa McCoo. I also think that it adds to the importance of the message when you understand that Baldwin Saer has (incredibly) worked on his story in four different states and for ten years. I don’t think for ten straight years he spent every night on this, but when you think about a project for that long, you know it’s going to come out just the way it was meant to.
What I also really love is that this story really comes from the heart. Our author didn’t make this book because he was looking for a new career. No, he is a music-maker, an illustrator, and first and foremost, a landscaper. I’m pretty sure you’d call that a ladies man! No? In any case, Baldwin’s passion drove him to create this story and to deliver his message.
The last thing I usually talk about in these reviews is the illustrations. What I love about this book is just how simply the illustrations were done. It’s easy to imagine that after ten solid years of crafting a story, one might overdo the illustrations. I can imagine not wanting to miss something and filling the page with unnecessary clutter.
That did not happen in Lisa McCoo. In fact, I think the simplicity of the illustrations really help the book drive home its messaging and its vocabulary. I think it helps the book retain a pretty high educational value, and yet the illustrations are incredibly fun to look at.
I also really enjoyed the old-style of coloring found on every page. I felt like I was watching an old Saturday morning cartoon unfold every time I turned the page. I actually felt a little nostalgic about it all.
What’s interesting about the style chosen here is that depth shows up really easily. When a small adjustment is made to clothing, or to a tree, or to any object, you can really tell. Take a moment and look at the bottom right of Lisa’s red coat in the picture above, and you’ll instantly see what I mean. There’s depth there, and it’s done simply through a little darkening.
In the end, it’s pretty easy to recommend Lisa McCoo by Baldwin Saer. This is a great little storybook that’s been told in a fun way. What’s more, it includes a strong and really positive message for kids of all ages and developmental levels. I, of course, speak more specifically to the toddler years in these reviews and I can safely say that this book hits all the right notes for toddlers. If you haven’t already run on over to Amazon.com or over to www.lisamccoo.com, then I suggest you do. It’s only $9.99 USD for a paperback copy of this great book!
Thanks for reading,