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reviews


Under 5s Pre-School/Nursery/Infant continued Erik The Lone Wolf


Ten Fat Sausages HHHH


Sarah Finan, Lincoln Children’s Books, 32pp, 978 1 7860 3010 8, £11.99 hbk


Wolves are pack animals, that’s


common knowledge, but tired of being part of the rule-bound pack, Eric the young cub longs for an adventure of his very own. Leaving the pack far behind, he


ventures forth across the mountains to have some no holds barred fun. He climbs his highest, wobbles his furthest and skis his fastest ever; seemingly Erik is unstoppable; and therein


lies the problem. So fast


does he whizz down the slope that he fails to notice the warning sign and somersaults unceremoniously down into the bottom of an icy crevasse. Suddenly he realises that being a


lone wolf isn’t always such fun after all; in fact it can be downright scary. It’s fortunate for him that his family


aren’t as eager to detach themselves from Erik as he was from the rest of the pack: it looks as though after all his solo adventuring it’s a case of once a pack animal… This picture book is part of Lincoln Books new sub-imprint First Editions solely for debut authors/illustrators and Sarah Finan is clearly an artist to watch. Her


painterly illustrations with


their predominance of blue hues, are powerfully atmospheric and capture the icy chill of the wolves’ mountain home; and far from being scary, those furry wolves,


particularly totally endearing. JB Look Out, it’s a dragon! HHHH


Jonny Lambert, Little Tiger, 32pp, 978-1-8486-9821-5, £11.99 hbk


Saffi is a dragon with a difference. She doesn’t want to take part in the usual pursuits associated with dragons. She would like to find a sunny woodland home where she can make friends. Sadly she is a dragon. Will this mean disappointment? Or, maybe, being a dragon has its uses This attractive little


story would


be great fun to share with a class or at bedtime. While there may not be many surprises – it is a familiar theme – Jonny Lambert’s illustrations provide the perfect accompaniment. A pleasing pastel palette brings the images to life as they stand out from the white background. Here there is no clutter or extraneous decoration to confuse a young audience. The sans serif font is clear and well placed on


the page and


accessible to a wide range of readers, young


old.


making it instantly With its central


message of overcoming prejudice, of looking beyond the obvious this is a lively, enjoyable addition to the book corner. FH


Erik, are


Michelle Robinson, illus. Tor Freeman, Andersen, 32pp, 978-1-78344-4, £11.99 hdbk


Young readers familiar with the rhyme may enjoy this, or may go off eating sausages completely, as the fat sausages in this picture book have faces, and little arms and legs, and they are brothers and sisters, or best friends. Some decide that they don’t want to be eaten: ‘“Well, I won’t go Bang and I won’t go Pop”, and sausage number 2 went hop, hop, hop’. Sausage number 2 meets his end in another way, and so it continues. Some do go Bang and Pop, others escape into different hazardous situations, and only two wounded sausages limp out of the last page. Adults really do need to know about this book to avoid the possibility of traumatised children… Michelle Robinson has a lot of


picture books to her name, including Goodnight Tractor and a whole Goodnight… series, and A Beginner’s Guide To Bear-Spotting, which was quirky and good. The rhymes are great, and the retro-style illustrations are fun, with some details to spot. Tor Freeman is English, but she spent some time in California, which explains why one of the recipe books on the kitchen shelf is ‘Ways with Wieners’. A bowl holds items of fruit who observe all this, and they have faces, too – the blueberries definitely get upset at the carnage as one escaped sausage, taking refuge in a nice big jug with a mysterious button on it, gets blended. It’s a lovely production, on thick pages and in bright colours, but possibly adults should be wary. Tough children might just love it. DB


The New Baby and Me HHHH


Christine Kidney, ill. Hoda Haddadi, Tiny Owl, 24pp, 978 1 910328 18 7, £12.99 hbk


Five brothers, each quite different, are looking forward to the birth of a new sibling. They are convinced it will be a boy, and each of them thinks the baby will be like him. The first wants to be an explorer, the second a scientist, the third is determined to be an artist, the fourth a pirate, and the last just wants to be a dreamer and ‘stare out of the window and wonder’. No prizes for guessing that the newcomer is a girl! The boys are flummoxed at first, but come to realise that while she is like them in some ways, she will be herself and only herself.


The theme of the


story is individuality, and the fact that each of the boys believes that the new baby will be just like him, is significant. The fact that they then have to accept that this one is going to be different from any of them means that they also accept their own individuality. A quite different approach to the coming of a new baby, and the illustrations are outstanding, full of deep colour and lots of collage work. ES


HHH Ed’s Choice


Read the book, Lemmings! HHHHH


Ame Dyckman, illus by Zachariah Ohora, Andersen Press, 32pp, 978-1-7834-4634-6, £12.99 hbk


Foxy has a book on lemmings. It tells him that lemmings don’t jump off cliffs. But someone clearly hasn’t told the three little lemmings. On hearing the word jump, they enthusiastically


throw themselves


into the water. It is almost disastrous – then they repeat the action? Why? Haven’t the followed Foxy’s advice and read the book? Bold lines, a minimal palette and


a strong design that makes use of each double page spread allows the reader to join Captain PB on board ship while the lemmings hurl themselves off the deck with the


and picture 5 – 8 Infant/Junior


cry “Geronimo”. Here words combine perfectly


to create energy and movement. The lemmings are portrayed with a disarming immediacy; they are


Spyder HHHHH


Author and illustrator Matt Carr, Scholastic, 978-1-4071-7293-4, £6.99, pbk


Spyder is the delightful follow-up to last year’s enjoyable debut from Matt Carr, Superbat. Spyder is, probably unsurprisingly, a secret agent but it’s certainly not an easy job when you’re so small. While relaxing in the attic, she’s summoned on her spy phone by Miss Moneyspider and instructed to remove a disruptive bluebottle from 7 Fleming Road,


before it


lands on Tommy’s birthday cake and spoils his party. Spyder needs to rely on her training and spy-kit which, amongst other things, contains a very unconvincing disguise and a banana. Danger, excitement and numerous acts of bravery await. All is going well until, with time running out, Spyder ends up trapped in the bathtub... This book is an absolute joy for


children and adults alike. The style of writing is reminiscent of the wonderful Traction Man books by Mini Grey, and every page is full of clever wordplay, jokes and spy-related puns. Some of these are clearly aimed at adults (Danger was afoot!) and will definitely go over the head of a young audience but won’t affect their enjoyment of the story in any way. The way that many of the pages have been divided up gives the book the feel of a comic strip. The palette of colours used in the illustrations are extremely bright and colourful, and add to the sense of energy that the book has. Also, make sure you don’t miss the amusing twist


small children geared to doing the opposite of what they are told, their comments providing a refrain to the storyline reminding the reader of Martin Waddell’s Owl Babies. But why would these little lemmings continue to court self-destruction? The reason is a neat twist and a subtle encouragement to learn how to read! Dyckman and Ohora burst on the scene with Horrible Bear. Their second book here in the UK does not disappoint – let us hope we see more from this energetic, humorous duo. FH


in the final illustration after the end papers.


I’d highly recommend this for


children between the ages of 4-7 as laughter and excitement is guaranteed. Matt Carr is carving out a niche for himself in the children’s book world and I’m already excited to see what he will produce next. JBid


The Weaver HHHH


Qian Shi, Andersen Press, 32pp, 978 1 78344 536 3, £10.99 hbk


Stanley, a spider, is a weaver par excellence, and he is also a collector of beautiful things.


After the wind


drops him in the perfect place to start his weaving, he begins to collect – natural things like twigs, petals, and leaves and seeds of all kinds. But he also has an eye for the unusual. He doesn’t know what they are, but he finds a button, the ring from a tin, and something else I can’t quite identify from the picture. These he suspends from his web, and he is very pleased with his beautiful collection. Sadly, the rain comes, and the accumulation


is destroyed. He


manages to save one heart-shaped leaf, and this he attaches to a new web, but the wind comes and blows this away too. Stanley is heartbroken, but he is also resilient, and after a night spent putting together a magnificent web with a design throughout of all the things that he has lost, he ‘catches a lift on the wind’ to pastures new, and we know he will continue as a great weaver and collector. The story is a parable of how to pick oneself up when things go


Books for Keeps No.229 March 2018 21


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