Thursday, 28 February 2013

You Choose by Nick Sharratt & Pippa Goodhart

You Choose is the work of Pippa Goodhart (author) and Nick Sharratt (illustrator). It's almost a cross between a picture book and an activity book.  At our house it's known as a conversation starter.

We read a lot of books at supper time when it's often just E and me around the table (plus one giant ginger cat at our feet).  A friend gave us this book for E's birthday but admittedly I'd had my eye on it for some time. The format is a series of questions accompanied by an array of mouth watering illustrations that let you make up new answers and stories each time you read it.

It's a real work out for the imagination and E took to it from the start.  It opens with a question we all may ponder now and again:

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? 

Below this text is a two page spread bursting with landscapes from volcanoes to deserts, to cities to the seaside.  There's even a snapshot of outer space for anyone who wants to go to the moon or visit the planets.  E tends to alternate between visiting a volcano and Saturn's rings.

The book continues in this format with questions about choosing the pet you'd like to have, the clothes you'd like to wear and the food you'd like to eat.  We seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on the transportation page debating the merits of rocket ships vs steam trains. I'm curious if this edition is sold in the US as the food section includes some very British fare like Christmas pudding and bangers and mash. The food pages are also useful for talking about some of those foods that your little reader may not readily eat.

I really like the way this book gives the child an active role.  E now initiates the questions without any prompting from me and it often leads to a dialog about why we like certain choices.  It's rewarding to have your child ask you a question and wait genuinely for your answer.  And it's even better when he asks if he can come to the moon with you.


  1. Hooray! I really think this book is a tour de force, and it's recent follow up, Just Imagine is almost as good. I recently used both in school when kids were getting to know each other (new kids, using it as a way to structure conversation to find out about each other).

  2. That's a great idea for school use. I'm really impressed by how it initiates conversation so effortlessly. Thanks for the tip on Just Imagine.