Saturday, January 26, 2013

Daisy and Her Needles by Keith Balding

It's a rhyming couplets poem in a little book of watercolour and gouache paintings which give humour to Daisy the obsessive knitter who knits everything in her life, from a fire to a tree of apples. It's certainly a very woolly existence Even her husband is knitted! A normal flesh and blood husband would quickly become unravelled given her fanatic clicking of the needles.This is indeed a very obscure little book which will take its place on the Little Bookshelf of Little Books in my classroom, for all my students to appreciate or at the very least, wonder about.

Fat Cat by James Sage & Russell Ayto

Cornfield rivalry between three farmers, Big, Bluster and Smarts, exacerbated by an invasion of mice makes for a refreshing new story line for young readers and older readers alike. Big and Bluster work diligently on their own mouse traps throughout the day and night to rid their respective field from the furry plague, each taunting the other about their efforts. Meanwhile, Smarts quietly stands modestly off to one side watching the antics of the other two with no comment knowing the fat cat he has acquired is doing a fantastic job keeping his fields clear from vermin. After a while the other two come to their senses and Smarts, as his name implies, solves everyone's problems. The end papers of the corn fields are particularly striking, especially the one at the end with three mice bidding their sad adieu.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Day the Animals Came by Frances Ward Weller & Loren Long

Saint Francis loved animals and so did lonely little recently-emigrated to New York, Puerto Rican girl Ria . She is desperate to participate in the Feast of St Francis to which her neighbour Mrs Blum has taken her. She is worried she will miss the experience because  unlike all the other people  lined up ready to enter the cathedral looking foward to having their animals blessed, she has no pet accompanying her. As Leunig would say"you must know the ways of a duck"  and surely it is a mischievous duck, Groucho, who reminds Ria of her homeland and is the reason she is asked to join the Procession of Animals. "The church beyond yawned like a cavern. Lined with breathing walls of pets and people, the aisle they walked stretched to a far-off alter. Ria took a big breath and stepped through the doors." This beautiful, string-bound hardback book with its fascinating paintings by Loren  Long  is a welcome addition to my bookshelf of quality children's picture books.The four page spread depicting the procession makes you feel as if you are there.
The book is based on the procession which takes place annually at New York's City Cathedral.