Clean It! ¦ Wear It!
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The poem on our front cover is taken from Figgie Hobbin by Charles Causley, with illustrations by Gerald Rose, re-issued by Macmillan (0 333 12078 7, £7.50) in May 1990. Figgie Hobbin was first published in 1970 and has remained in print ever since. We are grateful to Macmillan for help in using this illustration.
During a recent course for teachers, we were asked to sort and classify boxes of tiny objects. Many were unfamiliar, and some of the categories were new to us, but with a framework for our observations it was surprising how much we noticed. This series of books offers children a similar approach to its subjects. Familiar, and less familiar, objects are grouped, regrouped, examined and discussed so that their purposes, structure and names are revealed in ways that will enable children to make worthwhile connections and observations.
Some pages provide straightforward information. In Clean It! we are told that 'harmful bacteria need to be kept away from food'. Other pages show groups of objects related by their common purpose as tools for cleaning. A loofah, chimney brush and besom brush appear amongst one group with the question, 'What are these used to clean?' Concepts are presented in simple but interesting ways. In Wear It! we are invited to consider what links a vicar, chef, ballerina, Buddhist monk, pilot and policewoman. The final pages provide suggestions for straightforward activities which do not require special materials. The colour photographs (by Chris Fairclough) and presentation reach a high standard and, with one or two minor exceptions, the text is clear and carefully set. Earlier titles in this series include Cut It!, Join It!, Store It!, and Move It!
Taken as a whole these books provide an approach to their subjects which children could valuably extend to other areas. More specifically, their subjects will prove useful as children explore areas of the science curriculum such as R'materials', 'human influences on the earth' or 'energy'.