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REVIEWERS IN THIS ISSUE BfK


Brian Alderson is founder of the Children’s Books History Society and a former Children’s Books Editor for The Times. Gwynneth Bailey is a freelance education and children’s book consultant. Clive Barnes, formerly Principal Children’s Librarian, Southampton City is a freelance researcher and writer. Jill Bennett is the author of Learning to Read with Picture Books and heads up a nursery unit. Rebecca Butler writes and lectures on children’s literature. Katie Clapham runs specialist children’s bookshop Storytellers, Inc. in Lancaster. Stuart Dyer is an Assistant Head Teacher in a Bristol primary school. Anne Faundez is a freelance education and children’s book consultant. Janet Fisher is a children’s literature consultant. Geoff Fox is former Co-Editor (UK) of Children’s Literature in Education, but continues to work on the board and as an occasional teller of traditional tales. Jake Hope is a reading development and children’s book consultant. Ferelith Hordon is a former children’s librarian and Chair Elect of the Youth Libraries Group, and editor of Books for Keeps Margaret Mallett is a team editor for the English Association’s journal English 4-11 and author of What Shall We Do Next?: A Creative Play and Story Guide Matthew Martin is a primary school teacher. Sue McGonigle is a Lecturer in Primary Education. Jana Novotny Hunter is an author and editor. Margaret Pemberton is a school library consultant and blogs at margaretpemberton.edublogs.org. Val Randall is Head of English and Literacy Co-ordinator at a Pupil Referral Unit. Andrea Rayner is an editor and has an MA in children’s literature. Andrea Reece is a marketing consultant and Managing Editor of Books for Keeps Gill Robins is a Junior School Deputy Head and Editorial Chair of the English Association publication English 4-11. Sue Roe has been working as a Children’s Librarian in various public libraries for a number of years. Elizabeth Schlenther is the compiler of www.healthybooks.org.uk Lynne Taylor works on The Reading Agency’s children’s programmes, the Summer Reading Challenge and Chatterbooks Nicholas Tucker is honorary senior lecturer in Cultural and Community Studies at Sussex University. Sue Unstead is a writer and publishing consultant Ruth Williams is a children’s book editor and publishing consultant.


Under 5s Pre – School/Nursery/Infant Let’s Play HHHHH


Herve Tullet, Chronicle Books, 80pp, 978-1-4521-5477-0, £9.99hbk


Following the runaway success of Press Here and Mix It Up!, Herve Tullet is back with his next bookful of riotous fun. Let’s Play is all about a crazy yellow dot that rolls up and down, multiplies and shifts into different colours as the story unfolds. This is as close as you can come


follows: cue for double page spread with what looks very convincingly like a lot of real mud in which Pete wallows with his red bucket and mop. What Pete does next is very drastic indeed


declares


causes him, thankfully, to rethink his whole approach to his surroundings. This humorous


to animating a print book. It will have its young readers doing exactly as they are told by a yellow dot, following it up and down, across pages and into dark corners. There’s even clapping, shouting and jumping involved in order to further the little dot’s adventures. At one point the dot disappears altogether, coming to rest on top of the reader’s head, before a quick shake restores it to the page. This is guaranteed fun for early


features a typical Gravett cut


ecological


and, although he initially it ‘practically perfect’,


it


slip cover, book cover and endpaper are


putting leaves in a waste basket as if in a slightly distant woodland glade. But, otherwise, she relies on the use of colour and page design to put the story across in a series of striking images in which colour is gradually banished from the


learners and adults to share. Along the way, children are developing co- ordination, learning about up/down contrasts, shapes, speed, sound ... but who wants to know about the boring educational bits when it’s just so much fun. Highly recommended for all parents with young children who love to laugh together. Enjoy! GR


Tidy HHHHH


Emily Gravett, Two Hoots, 36pp, 978-1-4472-7398-1, £12.99, hbk


A rhyming text and witty illustrations introduce us to badger, Pete, whose penchant for keeping the forest and his various animal friends spick and span appears, to begin with, largely laudable.


looking stainless steel secateurs with which he is cutting off flowers whose colours ‘didn’t quite match’, should warn us that this is an animal whose scouring and scrubbing may lead to a drastic minimalist solution to nature’s inherent untidiness. Autumn is the catalyst and, faced with all those falling leaves, Badger gets to work. We see the result in a shocking double page spread: a mountain of black bin bags dwarves the starkly naked trees.


stop there. The trees look ‘bare and scrappy’, so he digs them up. A flood


But Badger However, the wicked


return when Pete realises the error of his ways. Whether or not Pete is a totally reformed character remains open to question, however, as, in another typical Gravett


found hoovering up the British Library catalogue record information on the back page. CB


Are You Sitting Comfortably? HHH


Leigh Hodgkinson, Bloomsbury, 32pp, 978-1-4088-6482-1, £11.99 hbk


The young protagonist in this lively picture book from the pen of Leigh Hodgkinson just wants somewhere quiet and comfy to sit and read. But every chair has a character and a problem - too buzzy, too cold, too hot - and as the young reader moves on the appropriate animal follows. But, of course, books are for sharing so can be read anywhere. Bold illustrations accompanied by


touch, he is forest only to through to show badger touch as fable


There’s a Tiger in the Garden HHHHH


Lizzy Stewart, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 32pp, 978 1 8478 0802 8, £11.99


Young Nora is at her Gran’s and feeling


of her knowledge, that like most small children, Nora has a fertile imagination and that her garden is rich in potential for flights of fancy, Gran suggests she go and play outside. ‘I thought I saw a tiger there earlier’ she tells her. An incredulous Nora (accompanied


bored. Taking advantage


bold, quirky fonts combine to make this a fun book to read - and share. Young readers will enjoy spotting the different animals and relating them to the chairs. The fonts though playful are bold enough and clear enough for the gently rhyming text to be read easily and for its message to be received. FH


Hiccups HHHH doesn’t


Holly Sterling, Frances Lincoln, 32pp, 978-1-84780-674-1, £11.99 hbk


When hiccups assail Ruby’s puppy Oscar, Ruby tries everything to get rid of them from magic tricks to stompy stomps. But nothing seems to work until Ruby dons her cat costume and scares Oscar (just a little) into losing his hiccups. Lively characters skim across the


pages with wit and delight. Subtle colours and childlike drawings make this accessible to the very young. With a sweet twist at the end,


readers will relate to this romp and enjoy the world without adults that the heroes inhabit. JNH


by equally bored toy giraffe, Jeffrey) decides to investigate – egged on by Gran’s further mention of bird-sized dragonflies, human-eating plants and a grumpy polar bear. Determined to find her new environment just as boring, Nora is surprised by something whooshing past her at eye level. It’s an outsized dragonfly and it leads her to a cluster of colourful, equally large dragonflies. Yes, the young girl is somewhat impressed but still not ready to accept the notion of plants, as human carnivores let alone polar bears or tigers; she urges Jeff to return home with her. Jeff however has been ambushed – literally. With rescued duly completed, Nora urges again, ‘Come on Jeff, let’s go home’. Emerging from the undergrowth, she hears a gruff, grizzly ‘Hello’, and finds herself confronted by a cross-looking polar bear fishing from an ice-flow, cross on account of knowing that the tiger, not he is the object of any search. Off Nora goes again hotly denying the possibility of tigers being in gardens, even ones wherein bird-sized dragonflies, human-eating plants and polar bears reside, when she finds herself nose to nose with the very kind of orange and black stripy beast she will not accept being in a garden. There follows a wonderful exchange between child and big cat on the hot topic of reality, followed by a deal being struck, a ride back towards Gran’s house, a burgeoning friendship and a fond (for now) farewell. When Nora and Jeff sit down for


dinner, the child has two things to tell her Grandma; one concerns the tiger that IS in the garden, the other is about something entirely different … Following in the footsteps of Judith


Kerr’s classic The Tiger Who Came to Tea, this vibrantly illustrated tall tiger


deftly executed by debut picture book creator, Lizzie Stewart.


tale is richly imagined and JB


Albert’s Tree HHHH


Jenni Desmond, Walker Books, 32pp, 978-1-4063-6247-3, £11.99 hbk


Albert has woken up from his long winter nap and the first place he wants to go is his favourite tree. He’s happy to be back on his favourite branch and is enjoying the peaceful forest when he’s


most surprising sound. It sounds like Albert’s Tree is crying! But what could


22 Books for Keeps No.218 May 2016 startled by the


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