reviews 5 – 8 Infant/Junior continued

is information about ways to attract bees to gardens to help ‘save’ them and useful links at the back of the book to find out more. Although there is no index, the book is organised into chapters making it easy to navigate and there is a helpful glossary at the back. The writing style

is straightforward, clear and

factual. The subject matter and the illustrations, colour scheme and book design, including the honeycomb end papers, make this an attractive book for a library, a classroom collection and young nature lovers. SMc

Norman the Norman from Normandy


Philip Ardagh, ill. Tom Morgan- Jones, Barrington Stoke, 96pp, 978-1-7811-2697-4, £6.99 pbk

This short, gory comedy for children, is published by Barrington Stokes, and adds to their cannon of dyslexia- friendly

publications for young

readers. Norman the Norman from Normandy has an extraordinary family. His mum bends metal for a living and his dad is a mighty warrior. Norman soon finds his own special talents, but not deliberately! In chapter one, in a scene that sets

the farcical, violent tone of the book, Norman’s dad gets himself involved in a ferocious argument with some rather unpleasant Britons. Despite fighting very bravely indeed, Norman’s dad meets a rather grizzly end, one that results in his remains being buried in three different places across Britain. Norman receives a beautiful ‘sorry-for- your-loss’ tapestry from the murderers and decides that it would be only right to pay his respects to all three sets of his father’s remains. Norman soon sets off on his quest

upon his trusty steed (a rather hairy wild boar) wielding his huge sword and demonstrating an impressive naivety for the world. Random things happen to the quixotic Norman - very random things. Squirrels

get the

flu, cabbages get stolen and nuns get rescued, and Ardagh treats the reader to very few details and zero explanation, making the randomness absolute and the comedy ample. Readers will giggle as Norman’s

preposterously huge sword gets him into trouble, and out of it again, in the most ridiculous ways. Accidental decapitation,

accidental poisoning

and accidental snake-charming all play a part, as Norman continues along his journey to manhood. Published as a Little Gems edition,

the story is only a short one and will be manageable for young and emerging readers. However, despite its short length, it is a generous and rich publication, printed on a heavy, off- white paper and bursting with colourful, crazy pictures that combine chivalric themes with cartoonish chaos. He may be only small, but Norman packs a punch, and so does his book! SD

Dino Diggers, Digger Disaster HHHH

Rose Impey, ill. Chris Chatterton, Bloomsbury, 32pp, 978-1-4088-7244-4, £6-99 pbk

Impey and Chatterton, renowned

author and illustrator, have created a Dinosaur Digging series of books which will surely

delight. In this

Digger Disaster book, not least of the fun is the DINO DIGGER press- out model to build, at the back of the book, along with Tyrone, one of the

masterbuilders! Terri, Tyrone,

Ricky, Bruno and Stacey make up the Dino Diggers, the best in Dino-Town. They put things right when they go wrong, and never let you down. Mr Ali O’Saurus has commissioned them to build a new car factory in the town. He is an impatient client, and makes demands for work to be achieved by the end of the day. “Fast?” boasts Tyrone T- Rex, I’ll be like a mighty meteorite!” Too much haste, too little studying of the plans…. And calamity strikes with a cracked water main, floods everywhere, what a dino- digging disaster. Graphic pictures show just exactly how the scheming and resourceful dinos set to work to rectify the burst pipe, avert further problems, and get the building back on schedule. Lots of activity is shown on each spread, as the text gently pushes on the tale. With brilliant dino team work, the factory is completed to everyone’s satisfaction. Hurrah for the Dino Diggers…. Now to make up the press out machine. GB

The Prince and the Pee HHHHH

Greg Gormley, ill. Chris Mould, Nosy Crow, 32pp, 978-0-8576-3825-0, £6-99 pbkk

Chris Mould’s quirky illustrations certainly bring this cautionary tale startlingly to life: go before you go! There is a perfect match between text and pictures here, ensuring Prince Freddie is the key character, along with sidekicks Sir Rushington, (his horse,) a terrible dragon, and the Castle Crumble. An introduction of traditional tale

More urgency. As Prince F. repeatedly hops off his horse, he is prevented from relief in turn by a fearsomely ugly ogre, a beautiful princess awaiting release from captivity in a high tower, and finally by an orderly queue, all awaiting a convenient tree. The queue comprises the Big Bad Wolf, Puss in Boots, and the Seven Dwarves, all looking similarly pressed! On gallops Sir Rushington. ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ asks the desperate Prince. Up and down, up and down, oh look at the picture, he really is desperate! At last at Castle Crumbly they arrive, but there on the drawbridge stands the biggest and fiercest dragon! The tiny Prince, forgetting his fears, charges at the dragon, who, in shock at such unheard of bravery, mistakenly sets fire tot the castle. Our Prince saves the day, a wonderful double spread showing just how the flames are extinguished! The three characters become friends, and fly together over the mountains. And the twist in the tale? It is Sir Rushington who then needs to stop, not for a pee but a poo. Children will just love it, empathising in turn with each character, and they will be enchanted by the flowing text and Mould’s drawings full of fun and individuality. Don’t miss it…. nor scanning the QR code on the front inside cover, on a smart phone, for a free audio reading of the book. Fantastic. GB

Build a….. Butterfly Build a....T-Rex


ill. Kiki Ljung, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 16pp, 978-1- 8478-0915-5/978-1-8478-0916-2 £7.99 board book

A clever series to entice young characters will

also delight young readers. Whilst Prince Freddie enjoys his lemonade and comic whilst sunbathing on the beach, Sir Rushington brings him a frantic message that a terrible dragon is attacking Castle Crumbly. Slurping down the last drop of his lemonade, Prince F. leaps on his trusty horse, and off they gallop. Not far have they travelled before Prince F. feels the urge to go, but Sir Rushington sighs, and admonishes that he SHOULD have gone before they left. Passing a lake and splashing waterfall does nothing to relieve the small Prince’s predicament. UP and DOWN, UP and DOWN… (‘readers’ will soon be reading these thrice repeated phrases as they appear throughout the book. Maybe a pause for a trip to the loo…..) Rain!

naturalists into opening books. This is an emerging set from the Natural History Museum which combine information books with a making activity. Kiki Ljung’s illustrations are bold and colourful with plenty to catch the eye. The front cover itself is enticing; due to the 3D model the book is a board book throughout which makes it feel really ‘hearty’ to hold. The size and curved corners are also a little bit unusual - both books certainly make their mark in terms of wanting to be picked up. Information contained inside is just enough either for younger readers but also for any age particularly if too much information in layout is overwhelming. It isn’t here and so these two popular creatures could be a sure fire way of collecting decent information books for any age which don’t feel - for an older struggling reader - as if it’s too babyish. The ‘welcome’ for the young palaeontologist

or young naturalist

is a nice personal touch to draw the reader in. Both books start with a brief overview either with a Dinosaur timeline or with the life Cycle of a Butterfly. This is then followed by instructions as to how to make the 3D dinosaur or painted lady butterfly. This pattern continues with an information page and making

Books for Keeps No.225 July 2017 27

page. The information is clearly laid out onto a whole picture page which is really effective. The facts are little pertinent children’s

snippets which broaden understanding of living

things. We find out, for example, that butterflies ‘roost’ when it gets dark or rains. In the Dinosaur book there are some refreshingly less known facts (well lesser known, maybe, to non- dinosaur experts like me) such as a T Rex possibly not being able to roar and that it was more likely it hissed like a snake or was silent! This maybe changes things for the Jurassic Park franchise? Having made the

creature you

would still then have a book left or I think you could stand the creature up in front of the pages as there are

lovely habitat backgrounds in

the illustrations. So possibly for the very keen naturalist there would be a collection brewing of these books. They would definitely appeal to a wide ranging age group as they just seem to have the right balance of illustration, fact and making too. SG

I Like Bees, I Don’t Like Honey HHHHH

Sam Bishop, ill. Fiona Lumbers, Faber & Faber, 32pp, 978 0 571 33419 3, £6.99 pbk

Children and parents were asked by the author of this picture book what things they liked and what they did not, and the answers here are wonderfully imaginative, sometimes sad and other times funny and original. Pages of glowing watercolour paintings show us children with speech bubbles over their heads telling us exactly what they think while they dance, hop, skip, paint or are very much otherwise employed.

It’s a joyous scene, and

every so often there are two pages of rhymes about what specific children like or don’t like:

‘Mei likes painting

and making a mess, she doesn’t like washing up – or wearing a dress!’ Some of the speech bubbles are moving, those such as: ‘I like taking my time.

at.’ Or ‘I like playing on my own!

I don’t like being shouted I

don’t like night time.’ And some are very funny: ‘I like butterflies. I don’t like sitting down because my bottom goes flat.’ The theme of the story is that everyone is different, and this difference is also made plain by the fact that the children are of many hues of colour, there are spectacles much in evidence, and one child uses a wheelchair.

Inclusion is an

important part of the story, as well it should be, and the message is so gaily and deliciously made in text and picture that both parents and children will delight in it. ES

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