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BfK 5–8 Infant/Junior continued

the animals she encounters. However, in the brontosaurus she meets her match and learns how to behave. As a result, her return journey which should see her punished is a triumph as, like Vasilissa, she makes amends. Viorst then fur ther subver ts the tradition by providing more than one possible ending – once again inviting her young audience to be involved in the creation of her tale.

The text is admirably enhanced through the accompanying illustr- ations by Lane Smith, whose approach is, naturally, ideally suited to such gently humorous and subversive prose. Stylised and decorative, his illustrations capture both the traditional and the contemporar y aspects of the narration. This book is per fect for those children who, while still very much enjoying picture books, are also looking for a more extended narrative.



Paul Geraghty, Andersen, 32pp, 978 1 84270 979 5, £10.99 hbk

Luminous almost photographic ar t- work scenes capture the heat and

undoubtedly painted from first-hand obser vation in the ar tist’s native South Africa. A simple and striking introduction to animal behaviour in story form.



J V Wilson, ill. Adrienne Kennaway, Frances Lincoln, 32pp, 978 1 84780 008 4, £11.99 hbk

stillness of the African plain as animals make their way towards a water hole in the moonlight. A herd of elephants is on the move, while an impala lies hidden in the darkness, watching a tortoise stumble towards the water’s edge. A hatchling turtle emerges from its nest under the watchful eye of a crocodile, and as dawn breaks a pack of wild dogs runs by. The interaction between the different species is beautifully depicted, based on documented animal behaviour, but

Have you heard of the ‘cuckoo bee’ which tries to invade the nests of bumblebee queens and use the nest and the worker bees to raise her own young? This is the kind of detail likely to intrigue the under eights and, indeed, this narrative is full of interesting information clearly expressed. The written text takes us through the life cycle of the queen bee in some depth, from her emergence from the mouse hole where she has spent the winter through to the building of a bee colony and the laying and nurturing of the eggs that will become the young worker bees. Once the nest is well established, with honey and pollen stored, she lays more eggs and these will produce new queen bees and male drones. The pollination process is carefully explained and this is the kind of book which is a stepping stone towards the more impersonal

language of mature informational writing which older primary school children encounter. The illustrations show the natural world as the bees might see it. The creatures are hugely magnified so that young readers can see the veins on their wings, the segmentation of their legs and their rather fierce-looking faces.


The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt


Megan McDonald, ill. Peter H Reynolds, Walker, 128pp, 978 1 4063 1980 4, £4.99 pbk

Fans of Judy Moody will not be disappointed by her latest adventures. Accompanied by Stink (or should we say Scurvy Stink), a treasure hunt is taking place. Faced with stiff competition, particularly from Tall Boy and Smart Girl, Judy and Stink solve all the treasure map clues in their usual madcap style, with plenty of jokes along the way. How they deal with winning is an unexpected twist in the story that will be appreciated by quite a few readers. This cheerful book is destined for the nearest Year Three classroom that I can find where it will be much enjoyed.


24 Books for Keeps No.187 March 2011

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