reviews coloured

Under 5s Pre - School/Nursery/Infant contd. the

and patterned mother

animals. This is an enticing addition to Britta Teckentrup’s series of spot- and-find books and the mix of rhyming text, hidden babies, clear font and use of bold, carefully chosen background colours is very inviting.

animals cover a wide range, from chattering parrots and singing orcas to

backgrounds behind the two The chosen creeping tigers, climbing tree

frogs, slithering snakes and many more. They are all chosen to enhance the combinations of colour, shape, pattern and expression on each beautifully designed page. Britta Teckentrup excels in the use

of texture and colour and the rhyming text reads aloud well. Artwork and text combine to invite close observation, concentration and an appreciation of the beauty of the natural world in a book that is definitely one for parents and children to share. SR

The Bad Bunnies’ Magic Show HHHH

Mini Grey, Simon and Schuster, 32pp, 978-1-4711-5760-8, £6.99, pbk

Those, like me, who don’t pay full attention

from page one might

well wonder how two definitely incompetent (and very possibly bad) white rabbits have been left in charge of a magic show, masquerading as Mr Abra and Mr Cadabra. They certainly look very surprised at the results of some of their tricks. Abra (or is it Cadabra?) doesn’t look too happy at the prospect of his blindfolded partner

throwing wicked looking

knives at him. And has unlucky Brenda actually been sawn in half? Some simple fold-out pages and rhyming word-play (Hey Pristo/Near Misto for the knife throwing) add extra variety as each catastrophe unfolds in double page spreads. Order is at last restored with a traditional circus feat involving a cannon that neither bunny is happy about. The story is told trick by trick in bold ingenious illustrations and the ghost of Pienkowski’s classic Haunted House seems to be about, although the paper engineering here is nowhere as ambitious or fragile. Perhaps it’s the octopus? CB

I Dare You HHHH

Reece Wykes, Andersen Press, 32pp, 978-1-7834-4537-0, £11.99 hbk

Two bored gorillas begin a game of ‘I dare you...’ that quickly escalades into something very foolish indeed. It begins with a bug, then a bird. Soon the silly gorillas are suffering the discomfort of having to eat rocks, and a huge tree in order to out-dare the other. Finally, one gorilla makes a joke that sees the friends falling into fits of laughter. But there can be only one winner in a game of ‘I dare you…’. Reece Wykes

stunning illustrative talent Andersen


shows off some in his

debut picture book for the always- impressive Glorious

Press greens make

list. up

impressive characters. The gorillas are really expressive and the simplicity of the design creates some really stunning spreads. The cheeky twist at the end will have children squealing with delight. KC

Sir Ned and the Nasties HHH

Brett McKee, ill. David McKee, Andersen, 32pp, 978-1-7834-4534-9, £11.99, hbk

David McKee is joined by son Brett in telling this tale of the Noble Sir Ned. The bold knight is commissioned to go into the local wood and quieten the notorious Nasties who are keeping up a constant blood-curdling droning that is driving the king mad. Sir Ned is a typical McKee character, resembling a small boy with a paper hat, a wooden sword, yellow stockings and little blue boots. Brett McKee supplies a rhyming text that bears comparison with Julia Donaldson and, like the mouse in The Gruffalo, Ned meets a series of characters as he enters the wood. He thinks they might help in his quest but actually it turns out they are the Nasties themselves (the reader will be well ahead of Ned here). Captured and tied to a tree, Ned quickly discovers where the annoying droning noise is coming from and, with his knowledge of choral singing, soon brings about a harmonious end to the nuisance. Characteristic McKee


expertly realise his son’s satisfying tale. CB

Under the Same Sky HHHH

Britta Teckentrup, Little Tiger, 32pp, 978-1-8485-7586-8, £10.99 hbk

Britta Teckentrup’s illustrations are always a delight to behold and this beautiful book makes a perfect special gift for a new baby with its inclusive theme and simple text. Families of animals are shown on each spread from domestic cats to wild wolves, across oceans and all types of lands, the animals dream the same dreams under the same sky. Clever die-cut details on each page allow the rhyme to flow through the book. It’s a joyful celebration of the world we live in, with all of its animals and colours. Britta’s trademark collage technique adds texture and originality to her artwork. The subject of communities and families is shown at its simplest level, but the variety of animals from exotic flamingos and the whales in the seas, could be a conversation starter for even the youngest readers when thinking about the world as a shared environment. KC

Poppy and the Blooms HHHH

Fiona Woodcock, Simon and Schuster, 32pp, 978-1-4711-4778-4, £6.99pbk

Poppy, Dandy, Bluebell and Buttercup are on a mission to save the city park. Journeying on their tiny scooters and

skateboards through the dangerous, smelly city they’ve got to get up high to find where the park in peril might be. When they find it they use their floral magic to transform the park in a beautiful sea of colourful flowers, which eventually

spreads perfectly capture even

beyond the park gates. Fiona Woodcock’s beautiful illustrations


contrast between a grey cityscape and the joyful kaleidoscope that fresh flowers can add. The little characters are

very endearing in their petal

headdresses with their skateboards a gorgeous unexpected twist. This gentle little story is a delight from start to finish, and Fiona Woodcock follows up her lovely debut Hiding Heidi in true style. KC

Swish & Squeak’s Noisy Day HHH

Birgitta Sif, Andersen Press, 32pp, 978-1-7834-4512-7, £6.99pbk

Our world is full of noise. We are so used to it that, as adults, we block it out; it is just part of our background. For a child, sounds, noises are new and surprising – and fun. This theme is picked up by Birgitta Sif in her latest picture book. We meet big sister, Swish and little brother, Squeak as they move through the day. Everywhere they go, whatever they do they are accompanied by noises. But who – or what – is making them? This is the underlying game and the young audience will quickly see that we, ourselves, are the source of noise (even if it may be the vroom, vroom of a racing car!) from the moment we get up to the time we are tucked into bed. Sif’s lively lines and clear palette ensure that Swish and Squeak may be mice but are recognisably children; her simple text is an invitation to both adults and children to make noises – and, perhaps, listen out for more. A very attractive picture book from an artist whose distinctive style is fast becoming a fixture on the shelf. FH

Bug Bear HHH

Patricia Hegarty, ill. Carmen Saldana, Little Tiger Press, 32pp, 978-1-8486-9451-4 , £10.99hbk

Even the dedication rhymes in this strikingly illustrated

picture book.

The illustrations are gorgeous striking images with simple shapes which would appeal to really young readers.

Pictures are often spread over double pages for extra impact. They’re large and playful and have a charming simplicity. The little bug leaves a trail which you can follow with you finger as he flies around agitating the bear. My favourite is a group picture of all the animals - the expressions just in their eyes say it all. The story starts with a little bug

who lands on a bear and announces he has chosen him for his ‘lodgings’. The rhyme all the way through helps the story along and obviously means it would be a great ‘out loud’ or ‘read along’ book with your own little ones or whole class or school. It would be rather a good subject for an assembly as the little bug really wants to be friends but the clue is in his name - he ends up bugging the bear and it doesn’t get any better


the story. This is a little surprising as usually you might think the bug and the bear would form a partnership in the end but it’s not quite like that. In this way I think it’s a good basis for discussion as it offers a different look at how we get on with each other in the world and how maybe we need to explore something in a different way as sometimes the person you really want to be friends with just doesn’t want to be friends with you. The bear gets more and more

grumpy and agitated and uses, at one point the great word ‘Kerfuffle’ which has only minimal options for rhyming but nonetheless they work perfectly in this book! In the end the wise old owl comes

to the rescue and is able to suggest a different friend for the bug so there is a resolution-phew-and the bear finally finds some peace. This is a jolly read which could

also resonate with our own bug bears and how to solve them. One quibble: the font in the book does match the pictures well but has capital letters interspersed with small. I know this is great for the look but as I often have to read writing in school that has capitals interspersed and try and help change that habit. I start twitching a bit when I see this very thing in print but that is just a personal bug bear of mine and shouldn’t affect enjoyment of this book. SG

The Big Bad Mood HHHH

Tom Jamieson, ill. Olga Demidova, Bloomsbury, 32pp, 978 1 4088 3920 1, £6.99 hbk

George is having one of those really awful days when nothing works, nothing is the way he wants it to be, and he isn’t above shouting and stamping and having an old- fashioned temper

tantrum. Mum

and baby sister (or brother) are ready to head for the hills, but George continues on his rampage. Mum says there is a ‘big bad mood’ around, but George can’t find it, even though he looks everywhere, and this makes his mood worse! Then, all of a sudden, there it is, the Big Bad Mood in person, and quite a person it is: round, blue and scribbled, looking like

big, Books for Keeps No.225 July 2017 25

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