Friday, January 31, 2014

Tuck Me In! by Dean Hacohen & Sherry Scharschmidt

This book is the perfect book when settling down and tucking your child in for the night. Children will relate to it and mimic it by tucking their favourite animals into bed. It is brightly illustrated by Sherry Scharschmidt and the wide-eyed animals stand out on the white background. Each animals is tucked  in up to its chin with swish and appealing blankets. Children instinctively love repetition and the simple rhythms of this book will ensure that this book is revisited many times. I couldn't resist buying for my grandson Archie who turned one yesterday.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli

The Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli should entertain most young children given their innate fascination with boxes. Both my grandchild, Archie, and both my own two children could get a great deal of excitement out of a simple cardboard box. How many parents have ever given their child a boxed toy only to that the recipient is much more interested in the box that it came in rather than the enclosed gift. The central character is a baby dressed only in a nappy  and a conical birthday hat. His fascination with the box does in fact extend to the puppy dog which he finds inside it. And...this box is a big one, big enough to get into. The rest of the book deals with his imaginative use of the box for play. My grandson, Archie, loved this book and he is not quite a year old. The pages are brightly coloured and the characters dominate the pages.  Below is a nice little resource that can be used with the book:

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Boy Who Lost his Bellybutton by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross

Published in 1999 The Boy Who Lost His Bellybutton, by Jeanne Willis, is a humorous look at a young lad who wakes up one morning to find that his bellybutton has mysteriously gone missing. He sets about asking a menagerie of animals in the nearby jungle to see if they know anything about it. Illustrator, Tony Ross, entertains us with  his necky giraffe, his Colgate-white grinning gorilla, he lazy lion, his charcoal elephant, warty warthog, agile tango dancing zebra and muddy hippo.  Last of all we meet with the cunning, fluff obsessed crocodile...for a swampish finish. This will surely be a winner with my little grandson Archie. I can't wait to read it to him.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Monty the Runaway Mouse by Esta de Fossard and Haworth Bartram

"Usually Monty was a very happy little mouse. But today Monty was a miserable mouse."
Maybe he finally worked out his was just a stuffed mouse posed into sometimes uncompromising situations. This book was first published in 1976 and this is a 1985 edition. I haven't seen these books for years so I just had to buy it for my children's book collection. I always wondered if the other animals in the story were also taxidermically adjusted. The cat in this story is at least is alive, well it was at the time the book was created.. The story deals with a young mouse who leaves home because he has been disciplined by his mother, who is also stuffed. He packs his case and he leaves his hole, meets briefly with a doll and endeavours to find a safe haven in a bird's nest. He is quickly given short shift and spends the next few pages dealing with a ginger cat. I will be keeping my eye out for me of these creepy, yet adorable gems, especially the one about Huff, the grumpy pigeon.

Yeti and the Bird by Nadia Shireen

This newly released picture book by Nadia Shireen has a yeti as its main character. He is a lonely yeti until one day, out of nowhere, a bird lands on his head. The yeti, startled, tries to scare the bird but the little orange bird is unperturbed. So, a friendship blossoms as the yeti endeavours to help the little bird who has become disorientated whilst on a journey to sunnier climes in the south. Then comes the sad day when they have to farewell each other. This book is overflowing with gorgeous winter landscapes and would be a lovely book to snuggle up to during wintery nights. I have just purchased this book to take over to my grandson, Archie, when I next visit Perth.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Brown Bear Barney by Dorothy Butler and Elizabeth Fuller

Nothing like a book with repetition to get a child reading. My Brown Bear Barney by Dorothy Butler is a is delightful book which is based on the many common experiences children will have with their beloved soft toy and what goes on in an ordinary household. It looks at outings in the pram, grocery shopping, gardens, visits to the beach and visits to the grand parents, bedtimes, and starting school. It's a book about growth from being a toddler to starting school and that precious relationship a child often develops with his or her favourite toy. Young children will readily identify with the every day objects depicted in the book and the attachment they may have to their own special friend.  Below is a link to the reading of the book by Anne Hartshome:

Aristotle by Dick King-Smith and Bob Graham

Aristotle, which also under the title of The Nine Lives of Aristotle,  is a book by Dick King-Smith about an accident prone cat aimed at the middle primary audience. His owner, a witch named Bella Donna, spends most of her time cleaning up after his misadventures whilst counting down his nine lives.Her cottage is proving to be a risky sort of place for an adventurous kitten. Tall trees, streams, railway tracks, and roads are among the dangers which Aristotle seems to find very quickly.  As much as Bella Donna tries to keep him safe, Aristotle's lives are fast running out. Then there is the episode with Old Gripper with the studded collar... The gently drawn illustrations by Bob Graham closely match the text and provide the reader with extra insight into the near misses of both Aristotle and the efforts of his hardworking owner.

The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman by Raymond Briggs

This book tells the story of the Falklands War  in the format of a picture book which I would use with middle or upper primary students. The style is simplistic with the text being accompanied by bold, and vivid illustrations. Whilst neither The Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas), or the waring countries of  Britain or Argentina are mentioned in the text, their leaders, Margaret Thatcher and Argentine dictator, General Leopoldo Galtieri are presented as a pair of metal giants who send troops to fight over the "sad little island" which is inhabited by shepherds who eat nothing but mutton. In the text the old woman who is "not real" but made of iron, alludes to Maggie Thatcher's nickname as "the Iron Lady" which derives from Thatcher's nickname "The Iron Lady", while the General who is also "not real and made of tin pots"alludes to the term "tin-pot general" (another word for an autocrat.) The book shows how soldiers from both sides were killed or maimed. These are the "real men"  The pictures portraying these men are drawn in monochrome pencil sketches as opposed to the full-colour "loud" caricatures of the wearing leaders which dominate the other pages. After the victory by the soldiers of the Old Iron Woman, there are numerous celebrations, to which the maimed are not invited because the reality and disturbing nature of their injuries "would spoil the rejoicing. The stubborn  refusal of both sides to accept responsibility for the civilian casualties is mocked with  statement that three of the islanders were killed, but that "nobody was to blame". I am proud to add this great book to my Raymond Briggs collection. The follow clip of this guy reading the book  is worth a watch.

Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli

This sturdy board alphabet book by publisher Christopher Franceschelli is a great way to introduce the alphabet to your youngster. It will withstand the hands of a one to four year olds and will fit nicely into their inquisitive little hands. It is brightly illustrated with artwork by Peskimo. The three dimensional aspect of this book combined with its vivid colours ensures you want to keep turning the pages, as will your child. It has thick pages cut into the shape of each letter and parents and children will enjoy this peek-through guessing game around the letter  form itself. I bought this book for my grandson Archie's first birthday and instinctively know he will love it and be happy to visit it again and again. Each letter leaps from the spread and has a beautiful illustration behind it which finished off the picture on the preceding page. I love it.