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

a child’s crayon drawing, it is quite determined to make everyone around moody too. He and George gleefully start their campaign at once.


they make an enormous sandwich with lots of horrid ingredients like spiders and caterpillars; then there

are other upsetting adventures that cause people to have bad moods too, culminating in turning the swimming pool water into custard and jelly which not only makes the swimmers cross, but also ‘a little bit delicious’! But then George starts to realise that perhaps

Storm Whale HHHHH

Sarah Brennan, ill. Jane Tanner, Old Barn Books, 32pp, 978-1-9106-4625-0, £10.99 hbk

‘Bleak was the day and the wind whipped down / When I and my sisters walked to town.’ Thus begins a first person narration telling what happens when three sisters, hair flowing wildly, skirts billowing, make their way, along the sea path buffeted by cold winds and down onto the beach. There’s a sense of exhilaration until they are confronted by the sight of a whale tossed up on the hard wet shore: ‘Dark as a demon, dull of eye, / Waiting in silence to drift … or die.’ Disregarding the weather, the girls

to eventually arriving in a safe place and starting to settle in. We find out that at times it may be interesting or exciting with lots of new things to see, but it will also be long and tiring, strange and worrying and sometimes maybe quite boring. The words are those of a mother

talking to her child about the journey they have to make. The illustrations reveal the feelings of the young protagonist as we travel with him on his long journey, from lively marching and

dancing to relentless and

exhausting walking, walking, walking. Designed to share with an adult,

battle all through the day, tossing buckets of water over the massive creature but have no success in refloating the creature. As dusk rolls down, they’re forced to abandon the whale to its fate and return to their beach shack. There they spend a restless night and next day rise to find the storm has blown itself out. Back they hurry, still in their pyjamas, down onto the beach and there they discover something wonderful has happened. This is a book where verbal and

visual images work in perfect harmony. The rhythm of Sarah Brennan’s lyrical text echoes the ceaseless swell of the

the shore; while every one of Jane Tanner’s illustrations, starting in black and white and then moving into full colour, seems to capture the traces of the author’s words with images that linger in the mind. The spread looking over the stranded whale and the storm-tossed sea; the close-up of the whale’s eye; the sisters waist deep in water almost overwhelmed by the waves; or safe, wrapped up warm in the fire light glow of the seaside shack all seem to have been reproduced from a sketchbook chronicling

events of the unfolding drama as they happened. JB

My Name is Not Refugee HHHHH

Kate Milner, The Bucket List, 32pp, 978-1-9113-7006-2, £6.99 pbk

How do you explain the refugee experience to the very young; what it might feel like to leave your home in search of a safe place to live? Here is a book that does just that in a very accessible and meaningful way. From saying goodbye and having to make choices about what to pack

the rolling waves breaking against

there are discussion points on every page encouraging young readers to put themselves in another’s shoes. What would you take? How far can you walk? This is a well written and powerfully

illustrated picturebook addressing an important topic which will encourage empathy about the plight many children are sadly experiencing in our world today. SMc

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors


Drew Daywalt, ill. Adam Rex, HarperCollins, 48pp, 978-0-0082-5239-7, £12.99, hbk

This is great fun. their Drew Daywalt

and Adam Rex imagine rock, paper and


scissors as champions of particular


Rock dominates in the Kingdom of Backgarden; Paper reigns in the Empire of Mum’s Study; and Scissors is top girl in the Kitchen Realm. Dissatisfied with the competition in their local leagues, they set out to find challengers wider afield and so meet to duel in the great cavern of Two-Car Garage. Here the entirely predictable outcome, in which every titan wins and every titan loses, causes all three to be surprised and delighted. There are some ingenious initial opponents for the champions in each realm: a clothes peg for Rock; a computer printer for Paper; and dinosaur-shaped

chicken nuggets

for Scissors. There’s a lot of verbal zest from Daywalt, with boasts and insults preceding each bout. This is perfectly matched by Rex’s dramatic illustrations, and a typography which roars out the fighting talk: solid and

26 Books for Keeps No.225 July 2017

making other




unhappy is not a good idea, and he changes tactics. He likes his friends, and putting them into bad moods has done nothing for his friendships. The Big Bad Mood finds this hard to understand because he doesn’t have any friends anyway.

But after this,

George is a reformed character (well, almost), and mum and small brother/ sister and all his friends are back to

5 – 8 Infant/Junior

deep for Rock, jagged and screechy for Scissors, and smooth and sinister for Paper. This is a book for any child who has set his or her toys against one another in a battle royal and supplied a commentary to the mayhem. Or any child who can recognise that sometimes just being a big fish in a small pool is not challenge enough. An inventive tale realised with verbal and visual gusto. CB

Everybody’s Welcome HHHHH

Patricia Hegarty, ill. Greg Abbott, Caterpillar Books, 32pp, 978-1-8485-7587-5, £11.99, hbk

Mouse dreams of building a happy house. But who will he share it with? In no time at all he meets several animals in need of shelter. A frog whose pond has dried up, birds whose tree has been cut down, rabbits fleeing in terror from a predatory eagle and a bear who is all alone because everyone is afraid of him. Word spreads and many more animals arrive. Working together they build mouse’s dream house just in time to shelter from the rain and celebrate together. Everybody’s Welcome is a beautiful

picturebook with delightful illustrations and a soft muted palette. It is cleverly designed with cut outs and cropped pages which capture the growing number of animals arriving and the hive of activity as the house is built. It is an enjoyable

read too,

with a pleasing rhyming text and a repetitive

refrain ‘Everybody’s

welcome’. Important themes of inclusion, acceptance and teamwork are introduced in an accessible and appealing way. There are easy parallels to be made with the different reasons people as well as animals, may lose their homes and seek sanctuary, fleeing natural disaster, the devastating impact of humans on the natural world, invasion and discrimination. A positive, warm


picturebook offering plenty for young readers to think about. SMc.

Six Blind Mice and an Elephant HHHHH

Jude Daly, Otter-Barry, 978 1 91905 942 8, £11-99 hbk.

Jude Daly lives in South Africa, and has produced a charmingly warm and inspiring re-working of this classic Indian fable. On a hot, hot day, a sleepy

elephant wanders into a farmer’s barn and settles

to a comfortable

sleep. When six blind mice are woken by a new and most unusual scent, they hear the farmer’s neighbours’ voices whispering that an elephant is sleeping in their barn. The mice set off to explore. The first mouse bumps into a wall and declares his disbelief. ‘Could an elephant be like a wall?’ Oh no, says second mouse, finding its smooth sharp tusk. A spear! A fan! says the third, but a tickle in its ear woke the elephant. ‘Is it a snake?’ squeaks the fourth mouse, clinging to its swaying trunk, as the elephant rises to its feet. A knotty knee is felt by mouse five, who claims an elephant is like a tree! Mouse six is the youngest of the blind mice, and, hanging from the elephant’s tail, announces that it is like a rope. At this point, many of the fables of long ago leave each exploring character believing that their

whole. But Daly says at the end of the book that she wanted her blind mice to realise the full wonder of an elephant. So, as the elephant enters the conversation, he agrees the mice are all right in that his parts are a part of his whole, but it is his whole that makes up his entire being. Beautifully told and imaginatively illustrated, this book should be in all primary schools, especially where philosophy is taught, showing that the whole is always more than the sum of its parts. GB

Being a Bee HHH

Jinny Johnson, ill. Lucy Davey, Wayland Books, 30pp, 978-1-5263-6048-9, £12.99, hbk

As the final pages of the book points out, bees ‘matter’ and they are under threat. This hardback book about the life of a honey bee makes a useful contribution

about the incredible world

to raising awareness of the

honeybee, life in a hive and bees’ importance as pollinators as well as honey makers. There are facts to amaze such as

the queen laying 1,000 eggs a day and the incredible 10 million trips it takes to and from the nest to make one jar of honey. Interesting details are included: did you know worker bees use their wings to fan the Queen bee and keep her cool in the summer and direct other bees to sources of nectar with an intricate dance? There

being their own lovely selves.


is a nice little twist at the end which lets us know that George will never be quite perfect. There’s much humour in the story, highly unlikely, but great fun. The illustrations have oodles of


white space which emphasises moods

nicely, and the

‘monster’ is very monstrous in true monster fashion. ES

part understanding was the

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