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shown the power of writing to explain experience that cannot be seen. Mole ‘felt the damp mist on his fur’, ‘heard the crackle of leaves under his feet’ and could ‘smell the lake’. The animals also cleverly translate what can be seen to what can be felt or heard. When the sun first peeps over the lake Vole likens it to the soft yoke of a fried egg, like the one Mole had for breakfast. Then, free of the lake, Mole’s friends say that the sun has made the clouds like raspberry ice cream with blueberries and ‘swirled with steaming custard’. Hot custard is another favourite of Mole’s. As it rises higher, the sun becomes like the shiny gold button on Mole’s waistcoat. Then it seems to melt the clouds making them soft and fluffy, like Sparrow’s soft feathers which Mole strokes. Deceptively simple, this book is ideal to read at home or at nursery school as it teaches about the senses and about friendship and empathy. As they read or listen, young children will understand that Mole has shared in the experience of the sunrise, not through his eyes but with his mind. MM

Night, Light, Sleep Tight HHH

Janet Bingham, ill. Rosalind Beardshaw, Scholastic, 32pp, 978 1 407110 38 7, £6.99 pbk

‘Friends make everything better’ is the focus of this book. Little Jack is a duck who is afraid of the dark but he meets Olivia the owl who shows him how beautiful the night time is. He, in turn, is able to help her overcome her fear of ‘light time’. This is a very gentle narrative that addresses the age-old concept of friends supporting each other and opening each other’s eyes to new experiences. The very cute illustrations are bright and will appeal to young children.

VRe Editor’s

Choice Come to Me, My Chickadee!


Carol Thompson, Child’s Play, 32pp, 978 1 84643 188 3, £5.99 board

This large format board book with its thin card pages and rounded edges is per fect for babies from around six months and upwards. Against white backgrounds Carol Thompson depicts toddlers at different points in the day from waking up in their cot to being tucked up at bedtime. In between we see them carried in a sling, running, climbing, dancing, falling over – deftly and convincingly depicted with Thompson’s vibrantly expressive line and use of colour which suggest the weight of little bodies, their jerky gait and unselfconscious abandonment to the curiosity and pleasure of new experience. The adult presence is there but unobtrusively so – grown up hands reach down to help balance, to hold tight, to tickle and play.

The adult presence is also power fully there in the lyrically rhyming and playful text which is a lullaby-style

This variation on the traditional Danish Fat Cat has that traditional tale’s cumulative structure with the added delights of onomatopoeia, alliteration and rhyme, not to mention a whole feast of delicious sounding words.

Nick Price’s detailed portraits of the pied and war ty whales, the rust encrusted wreck of a steamer and the wide eyed assortment of fish amid the foamy brine are in whale’s words, ‘brill’.


Julia Donaldson, ill. Axel Scheffler, Alison Green Books, 32pp, 978 1 407115 56 6, £10.99 hbk

More, More, More! HHHH

Dawn Casey, ill. Nick Price, Bloomsbury, 32pp, 978 1 4088 0000 3, £5.99 pbk

A young whale, tired of his staple krill, longs for variety in his diet. So, off he swims to satisfy his voracious appetite swallowing a whole variety of sea creatures. But even this is not enough. It is only when he has finally consumed the ocean itself that a huge burp restores normality.

If you loved the Gruffalo, this will be a winner for you! Zog is a young dinosaur romping through Madam Dragon’s school learning new skills with huge enthusiasm and often consternation as he falls, bumps and burns his way through minor injury after minor injury. A mysterious young girl always seems to arrive at precisely the right time to anoint his wounds and smooth his injured pride!

When Zog realises that all his hard work has been aimed at capturing a princess the plot thickens! The combination of Donaldson’s rollicking rhyming text and Scheffler’s humorous, slightly anxious illustr- ations build up the suspense until the dramatic denouement but all ends… well I won’t spoil it for you – go out and get this book – it will be a firm favourite in any Key Stage One class library.


Frank & Teddy Make Friends


Louise Yates, Jonathan Cape, 32pp, 978 0 224 08369 0, £10.99 hbk

There are shades of Frankenstein and Leonardo da Vinci about Frank, a lonely, clever mouse who loves to collect, make and mend. His obser vations of the natural world outside his shed make him long for a companion so he fashions Teddy from feathers and felt. A ver y useful companion his new friend turns out to be. But one day, Teddy’s eagerness to emulate Frank results in nothing more than a mucked up messy muddle. Banished to the garden, Teddy is soon helping the birds and the bees and Frank realises just how much he misses his friend.

Louise Yates has fun illustrating her Susan Laughs HHHHH

Jeanne Willis, ill. Tony Ross, Andersen, 32pp, 978 1 84270 990 0, £5.99 pbk

In any discussion of disability in children’s literature, this title is bound to be the first book mentioned and it is certainly one of the best. Winner of the Nasen Special Educational Needs Book Award on hardback publication in 1999, it has lost none of its impact today. In wonder fully dynamic pictures, we see Susan laughing and singing, splashing and swimming, hiding and spinning and doing all the ordinary, active things children do. She is also fearful sometimes, and is sad when things don’t go well – and, horrors, she can even be naughty! With a loving family and lots of friends, Susan is a child full of life and fun. It is only on the last page we see that she uses a wheelchair: ‘That is Susan through and through – just like me, just like you.’ This reissue can only confirm the impor tance of seeing

Books for Keeps No.187 March 2011 21

love song incorporating pet names and endearments from different languages and cultures. Thus,

‘Come to me, my Black-eyed Pea. Sugar Plum, my sweet Picknee.’

has a toddler enthusiastically running to his parent, arms out to be lifted up, while,

‘Peep-o Sweet-pea, Where are you? Peachy Poppet, Petit Chou?’

has a toddler looking straight at the reader/parent and playing peek-a-boo.

The decorative endpapers with their stylised flowers are covered with endearments in different languages (wee bisim, mon lapin, schatz, cosita, honey, bambino etc). A delightful production, full of love and affection and beautifully illustrated.


inventive story with more than one reference to the great Leonardo in Frank’s ideas and in the detailed sketches, diagrams and doodles in the background. Less sophisticated readers will revel in the improvised machines and flights of fancy in the narrative watercolours and the delightfully drawn ants and bees that abound.

JB Tiny Little Fly HHHHH

Michael Rosen, ill. Kevin Waldron, Walker, 32pp, 978 1 4063 1455 7, £11.99 hbk

A tiny little fly pesters an elephant, a hippo and a tiger by turn. Each power ful animal is determined to catch the pesky fly but despite a ‘TRAMP! CRUSH! TRAMP’, a ‘ROLL! SQUASH! ROLL!’ and a ‘SWOOP! SNATCH! SWOOP!’ the fly eludes capture and continues to ‘fly, fly, fly’.

With a rhyming and repeated patterned text and gloriously great big animal illustrations – a fly’s eye view and perspective – in shades of grey, brown, green, orange, pink and black on thick, toned paper, this Rosen/ Waldron offering is destined to be repeatedly read and pored over. Fur thermore, it has every possible reading lesson embedded painlessly within.


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