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I love Peter Spier’s books for children!  Peter Spier was born in the Netherlands in 1927, the son of a renowned Dutch artist.  After WW2 the family immigrated to the US and Peter began illustrating books.  He is the illustrator or author-illustrator of more than 30 children’s books.  Working primarily in watercolor on paper, his art is whimsical, detailed, and clever.  My children were introduced to his work in the 1980’s by their book-loving Granny, my mother-in-law.  Adult and child alike were entranced by the color, detail, and personality of each volume. Now Purple Grandma gets to introduce the same books to her grandchildren!

Crash! Bang! Boom! by Peter Spier is a board book for young children first published in 1972.  This is not a story but rather a collection of drawings depicting common objects, events, machines, etc. that make noise. (See the review coming soon A board book for toddlerson Gobble, Growl, Grunt for his wonderful book on amimal sounds.)  Spier’s drawings are accompanied by written sounds that the item makes.  A dropped plate is described with “SMASH!” a girl jumping rope with “SLAP  SLAP  SLAP” and an electric shaver with “HUMMMMM.”   As parents we became engrossed in our attempts to accurately make the sounds for windshield wipers, a policeman’s whistle, an air hammer, a riveter, a tornado, a snow blower, a bowling ball knocking down bowling pins, dribbling a basketball, orchestral instruments warming up, fireworks, and many, many other things that inhabit our lives.

A few of the illustrated examples are dated and no longer commonly seen in 2011 (typewriter and super 8 movie projector for example) but most of the things are familiar.  This is a fun and very interactive book for parent and child.  Sadly, it is out of print but good used copies are available at used book stores and via the web.

Reviewed 7/8/11

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