Review of Hey Diddle Diddle by Jonas Sickler

Hey Diddle Diddle by Jonas Sickler
INDESTRUCTIBLES are built for the way babies “read”: with their hands and mouths. INDESTRUCTIBLES won’t rip or tear and are 100% washable. They’re made for baby to hold, grab, chew, pull, and bend. (All Indestructibles books have been safety-tested and meet or exceed ASTM-F963 and CPSIA guidelines.)
(From back cover.)

Release date: June 2010
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Pages: 10
Source: Blue Book Project (free)

The credit for this amazing find actually goes to Little E. We were at an office and Little E, who is now a racecar on the ground, had gotten ahold of the bookshelf across the room in the time it took me to write our check-in info. Thankfully her grabby little hands found an INDESTRUCTIBLES book, which is chew proof, rip proof, nontoxic, and 100% washable. What?! How awesome is that?? As the parent of a curious and energetic baby, oh man, I was so excited. She was so enthralled by Hey Diddle Diddle that she didn’t rip all their other glossy books to shreds as I feared.

Though they are made for babies, INDESTRUCTIBLES aren’t board books, the usual “baby” book – they’re actually paperbacks! And as anyone who has had a baby knows, paper is a fascinating object. It changes shape, it’s everywhere, and most of all, it makes very cool sounds. Little E has been fascinated by paper for the last couple of months, but of course we hardly let her play with it, so you can imagine her excitement when I didn’t take a paperback book away from her. I don’t know what magic material this “paper” is made of, but I can attest that the claims on the front cover are not exaggerations: after three days of Little E chewing on it, waving it like a flag, snapping it around, dragging it through the house, and goodness knows what other tortures, Hey Diddle Diddle remains unscathed. No, really. It looks exactly as it did the day she picked it up. Actually, it’s cleaner, since I’ve washed it with soap, sponge, and water twice. (I’m still not prepared to believe it will survive the dishwasher or washing machine – can anything be that magical?)

But this is just a rave about the construction of the book – what about the story, you wonder? Well, at first I was disappointed that there’s no text. The illustrations do follow the popular nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle,” but I guess I just don’t understand why the words are printed on the back cover instead of on the pages. Maybe it’s to put the whimsical, mixed media illustrations under the spotlight, or maybe it’s because the pages are already quite busy enough. Hey Diddle Diddle features darker colors and an almost decoupaged style, with many different patterns and textures everywhere, including what looks like newspaper pages sneakily blended into the background. It almost reminds me of the oddness of Coraline or James and the Giant Peach. It’s definitely an interesting artistic style, though I usually prefer more cutesy art in my picture books, which is why I’m considering buying Baby Babble, another INDESTRUCTIBLE book. Plus, it’s only $2.97 on Amazon – what a steal!

Our rating?Three out of five stars.

Additional note: The blue bookshelf at the office had a sign on it explaining that the gently used books were provided by the Blue Book Project, a program dedicated to encouraging literacy in young children from families who have fallen on hard times. Children were free to take a book home, but the sign had no other details. I would love to know more about the Blue Book Project in the area of Arizona. If you have any information, please let me know! I’d love to write a little spotlight about the program here on Two Little Dinos and spread the word about their wonderful mission.