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


possibly be the matter? Albert gets advice from his other forest friends but sometimes a bear knows best. Jenni


illustrations make this book a glorious thing to behold. Lush forest scenes are inhabited by a host of gorgeous animals including caribou, squirrels and a brilliantly expressive rabbit. Albert is a handsome little bear and the clean white space gives him lots of room to romp around the page, bouncing on the branch or toppling off it. It’s a gentle story with friendship at its heart


bedtime reading for little cubs. KC Skip to the Loo, My Darling


HHHH


Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Anita Jeram, Walker Books, 32pp, 978 1 406324655, hbk £11.99


Bunny needs to use the potty so it’s time to skip to the loo. Bunny’s off but soon there is a procession of friends


to skip to the loo! Someone noisy, someone bouncy, someone lonely and someone friendly join the fun and before Bunny knows it there’s a whole potty party going on. There’s only one person missing from the potty party and little readers will have to look in the enclosed mirror to finish the rhyme! Pretty


animals keep this toilet tale sweet, even for a book that includes the lines ‘POO! POO! POO!’ and ‘POTTY! PARTY! POO!’ Children will obviously be delighted by the whole thing and parents will be glad of a book that makes going to the toilet look like so much fun. Anita Jeram of Guess How Much I Love You fame provides the gentle illustrations. KC


A Brave Bear HHHHH


Sean Taylor, ill. Emily Hughes, Walker Books, 32pp, 978-1-4063-5132-3, £11.99 hbk


One very, very hot day a bear cub and his father set off on a journey together through grassy areas, bushes and rocks to reach the cooling river. A Brave Bear


appealing story which captures a father child relationship and the fun of having


is a gentle and pastel colours and cute following, everyone wants Desmond’s beautiful


an adventure together very well. Hoping to impress, the young cub doesn’t heed dad’s warnings about only doing small jumps on the rocks and slips over, luckily dad is there to provide comfort and praise for being brave. Children and parents will enjoy the affirmation of the parent/child relationship, and the security it can provide. The repetition of phrases adds to the


that makes beautiful


Alphonse, That Is Not OK To Do! HHHHH


Daisy Hirst, Walker, 32pp, 978 1 4063 5431 7, £11.99 hbk


book’s appeal and would make this an enjoyable story to read aloud to young children. I love the ending, which is delightfully optimistic, ‘even tomorrow was glowing’…. suggesting lots more adventures and pleasure to come. Highly acclaimed author/illustrator Emily Hughes (Wild and The Little Gardener) has interpreted Sean Taylor’s simply told story beautifully. SMc


Growing Together: 4 Stories to Share. Growing; Imagining; Exploring; Sharing


Little brothers can be monsters (this from one who knows!) but they also can be fun, creative and loving. The two little monsters in this story are Natalie and Alphonse, and when Alphonse first appears on the scene, Natalie is not at all sure he is a good thing. But as he grows, they find there is much they can enjoy together. There are limits, though, and when Natalie finds Alphonse eating her favourite book, there are ructions. It doesn’t help that Natalie has just had a bad day that includes having to eat peas! The ending of this charming and very believable


recognisable by all those who have ever dealt with a sibling relationship. The illustrations


HHHH


Taro Gomi, Phaidon Press Ltd., 96pp, 978-0-7148-7126-4, £12.95 picture book box set


This quartet of picturebooks, neatly boxed, taps imaginatively into the preoccupations of young children. The pictures, alive with a strong line and intense colours, are full of warmth and feeling. Each book has a short written text and the first person voice adds intimacy. Growing begins with ‘When I was a baby ...’ and is a little boy’s resavouring of his own infancy on the arrival of a new sibling. A little girl’s imaginings of the stages her mother went through before she had children is the theme in Imagining. In the most dynamic of the four books, Exploring, a little boy is taken by his father on exciting journeys in different vehicles a bike, a scooter, a car and a boat. The warm humour that enhances each book is particularly appealing in Sharing: twin girls share everything – but while sweets and apples are easy to divide a wooden toy is more of a challenge. The solution? The dog is taken apart and becomes two birds. And they share the little cat – looking worried at witnessing the dividing of the toy – by each cuddling half of it. A lot of talk and laughter will accompany sharing these books at home or in the nursery school setting. MM


and glorious – full of white space as well as simple but highly effective paintings of kids (monster kids in this case) doing all the things that children do best and lots of large- print, heavy black text well integrated into the pictures. Natalie is a loving big sister, even when Alphonse is at his worst, but sometimes she has to handle his predations in her own very effective way. This lovely picture book by a new talent augurs well for things to come. ES


My Dad Will Do HHH


Martin Thomasillus Ag Jatkowska, Wacky Bee Books, 32pp, 978-0-9931-1094-8, £6.99 pbk


Every toddler knows it’s hard to be little, but when there’s a willing Dad about to show you the world, it’s an adventure.


things out of reach or too difficult, a little elephant relies on his dad to help out, using a gently rhyming refrain that ends with ‘but for now my dad will do’. It’s a refreshing take on the closeness of child and parent and gives a secure message of constancy. Painterly


overloaded with too much detail, has a calming effect, making this book great for bedtime. JNH


artwork that is not When presented with are story will be deft, spare, My Mum is There HHH


Martin Thomas, Ag Jatkowska, Wacky Bee Books, 32pp, 978-0-9931-1093-1, £6.99 pbk


A little elephant is eager to be able to say and do all the things he is too small to accomplish right now, but in the meantime she enjoys the exploration of her world with her mum close by. Using the refrain ‘And as I learn, my mum is there’ we see the satisfaction and


by the close two


mother and child. These


contentment demonstrated relationship between


messages conveyed in soft images replete with cosy interiors and colourful outdoor scenes. Wacky Bee Books is a new publisher to watch. JNH


Some Birds HHHH


Matt Spink, David Fickling Books,32pp, 978-1-9102-0066-7, £12.99hbk


‘Some birds are big, some birds are small’ is the start of this rhyming text, and it gives a clear indication of what’s to follow. There are birds of every possible description between the pages of this book. They waddle. They hop. They swoop and they squawk. Some are even so tall that you have to turn the book on its side to see the whole image, and that involves reading the words sideways. Inventive and joyful, the book is


books have strong


a riot of colour and a celebration of rhyme, alliteration, onomatopoeia and rhythm. Young readers will quickly be able to recite the words, leaving them free to enjoy the inherent humour and recreate the sounds and action that the poem inspires. In an early years setting, it’s an


ideal text to prompt thinking about same/different


inspire some colourful children


There’s music, art, language and social development potential within the pages of this book. But above all, it’s great fun. GR


create


contrasts their


artwork as own birds.


and to


5 – 8 Infant/Junior Little Red HHHHH


Bethan Woollvin, Two Hoots, 32pp, 978-1-4472-9139-8, £11.99 hbk


Surely the most striking cover on the bookshelf this month, Little Red makes a big impact. This stylish re- telling of the dark fairy-tale is given a refreshing update when Little Red is stopped by a large, growling wolf that simply does not frighten her at all. Wolf polishes off Grandma in the usual manner and waits


Red, who sees through Wolf’s awful disguise instantly. Wolf might have


for Little


his wicked plan, but Little Red has one that is much better. Warning: not everyone lives happily ever after! Bethan Woollvin’s debut makes a bold style statement, using only black, grey and a vibrant red against the white page, her simple lines feel totally fresh and her characters look like new creations rather than old favourites. Worth buying in hardback – it’s fabulously good fun and marks the arrival of an exciting new picture book talent. Top production values from gorgeous new imprint Two Hoots shows they are serious about special stories and beautiful books. Be sure


to check under the dust jacket


another surprise. KC Freddie Mole: Lion Tamer


for HHHH


Alexander McCall Smith, ill. Kate Hindley, Bloomsbury, 136pp, 978-1-4088-6585-9, £9.99 hbk


Alexander McCall Smith’s new book for children is a charming rags-to- riches story. There are few places more exciting for children than the Big Top and the dream of running away to join the circus is inherent in all of us. For one boy, Freddie Mole,


Books for Keeps No.218 May 2016 23


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