Click Clack Moo, Cows that type by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
I still remember when I first read this book and then started taking it in to schools to read to Reception and KS1 children. It is totally impossible and yet the opposite of anarchic as they are just trying to improve their treatment. However it did make me wonder how many young children, in the mid 2000s knew about typewriters – so I asked them and was surprised by how few of them did know about these machines. Those in Reception did not have any idea and it was only year 2 pupils who said it was like a computer keyboard. For adults technology has moved rapidly, but we see the changes and understand the progression; the young people only see the present state of media in our world.
The Story machine by Tom McLaughlin
This book brings this lack of knowledge into the current world it is about a
young boy called Elliott who finds a machine in the attic and wonders what it does as ther are no switches and it does not beep. By accident he types a letter and discovers the purpose of the item, so he creates a story; unfortunately he cannot read what he has written dyslexia?) but realizes that the words make pictures. This is a lovely book about the power of the word and the importance of the story, however it is told.
There are three picture books that look at different aspects of computers versus books and the way we need to help children understand and use various medias that are available.
It’s a Book by Lane Smith
This is one of a rather large group of favourite books. For an adult there is the fully realized frustration that we feel when a child has problems comprehending something that we consider to be very basic. Unfortunately this is only going to happen at a faster rate, as technology moves on. I love the refrain, “It’s a book” and get great pleasure from audience participation with this, as part of a story time. The illustrations, text and the whole pace of the book works so well and actually proves itself that the book is not going away any time soon.
Dot. by Randi Zuckerberg and Joe Berger
This is a wonderful lesson in not letting your life get overtaken by technology. Dot is an absolute whizz at using her various computers and phones and has lots of friends that she links with. However when her mother suggests she goes outside to get a rest, she discovers that playing games and having adventures with friends is even more fun. A beautifully illustrated book full of colour and movement.
Chicken Clicking by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross
There really aren’t enough superlatives to describe the work of Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross. They consistently produce amazing stories that are both funny and quite dark at points. This is the story of how Chick makes a friend on the internet and arranges to meet up with them, only to get a shock when she gets to the meeting place. It is very much a morality tale and reminds us that every generation has to be reminded about the dangers of strangers. I think it would be best to read this with individuals or small groups if they are young, as reassurance might be needed.