Review of Bo, Go Up!
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The Children’s Book Review
Written by Larry Baum
Illustrated by Joanna Pasek
Ages 3-7 | 28 Pages
Publisher: Independently published | ISBN-13: 978-1687833785
What to Expect: Playground Fun, Friends, and Phonics
Learning to read can feel like an intimidating process for many kids. With this in mind, author Larry Baum has created the Bo Books picture book series, in an effort to remove some of this intimidation for struggling readers. In just twenty-three, two-letter words, Bo, Go Up! cleverly tells the story of how some playground fun between two kids leads to a hot air balloon adventure.
Al and Bo meet up at the playground. While playing with a basketball, Bo notices that Al’s shirt has a picture of a hot air balloon and the words ”Go Up.” It turns out that Al’s mom provides hot air balloon tours, and she takes them up in a balloon for an adventure.
Using speech bubbles, readers will participate in the simple dialogue that takes place between the friends. The book’s design and layout are used to great advantage as the simple sentences—such as “Go, Bo!” and “Go up?”—are large and bold, making the reading level appropriate for our pre-fluent, beginner readers. The charming artwork—which appears to be watercolor and mixed-media—offers great picture clues that allow for further decoding of both the words and the story itself. The children have varied skin tones of warm browns and wonderful rosy-red cheeks. Their facial expressions are joyful and inviting, evoking the childhood bliss of playing with friends in the outdoors. Gently emphasizing the “up” theme, the rich greens and natural colors of the playground slowly switch to sky blue as the friends end up high above the neighborhood in a hot air balloon guided by Al’s mom.
Bo, Go Up! is a sweet and playful story that lends itself well to the beginning reader crowd and kids who enjoy books in which the illustrations have high appeal. Young children bridging the gap between letter recognition and basic phonics skills will feel empowered and accomplished after reading this book, and that’s a great thing!
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About the Author
Larry Baum grew up in Los Angeles, studied Chemistry and Physics at Harvard College, and got a Ph.D. in Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, in 1994. He has studied brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and depression. He lives in Hong Kong, where his son Ryan was born in 2003 and his daughter Ianna was born in 2005.
For more information, visit https://www.bobooks.org/.
About the Illustrator
Joanna Pasek is a freelance illustrator from Poland. She got a master degree in architecture in 1987, and then she worked as a 3D modeler and graphic designer. She has also written several books about graphic software, published by Helion S.A. When she and her family moved to live in the country, she returned to pencils and paints and started to draw for children.
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