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BfK REVIEWERS IN THIS ISSUE


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. Diana Barnes was a librarian for 20 years, mostly as a children’s specialist, working in Kent, Herts, Portsmouth and Hampshire, and Lusaka (Zambia) with the British Council. 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. Jane Churchill is a children’s book consultant. Fen Coles is co-director at Letterbox Library. Stuart Dyer is headteacher of a primary school in East Devon. 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. Sarah Gallagher is a headteacher and director of Storyshack.org www.storyshack.org Ferelith Hordon is a former children’s librarian and editor of Books for Keeps Carey Fluker Hunt is a writer and children’s book consultant. Matthew Martin is a primary school teacher.


Sue McGonigle is a Lecturer in Primary Education and Co-Creator of www.lovemybooks.co.uk Neil Philip is a writer and folklorist. 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 Reece is Managing Editor of Books for Keeps. Sue Roe is a children’s librarian. Elizabeth Schlenther is the compiler of www.healthybooks.org.uk Lucy Staines is a primary school teacher Nicholas Tucker is honorary senior lecturer in Cultural and Community Studies at Sussex University.


Under 5s Pre – School/Nursery/Infant Ed’s Choice


No! Said Rabbit HHHHH


Marjoke Henrichs, Scallywag Press, 32pp, 9781912650248, £12.99 hbk


Rabbit has an answer to all Mum’s suggestions from time to get up until bath time – “No!” But even a little rabbit can sometimes say “Yes” when the prize is as special as a cuddle from Mum. Pitching a picture book at the very


youngest is not easy. Tone, setting, language and the visual impact all have to be right. They do not have to be simplistic nor necessarily brightly coloured. In this her debut picture book, Marjoke Henrichs strikes all the right notes. The situation is one that both the very young and the parent will recognise. That moment when the child begins to exert independence, unwilling to do what others want, determined to take action on their own account – the default answer to any suggestion, demand or question “No”. However, there is always the possibility of a “yes” without losing face. Marjoke Henrichs’ success lies in the way she really does address the child rather than the adult. The text is minimal and repetitious, a dialogue that will be recognisable in real life, the activities


The Dodos Did It! HHHHH


Alice McKinney, Simon & Schuster, 26pp, 978 1 4711 8122 1, £12.99, hbk


Jack absolutely loves dodos; he has a dodo themed bedroom and lots of dodo toys. But what he really wants is a real dodo. Amazingly his wish comes true – and he is so pleased with his new companion, he wishes for more! Soon he has ten dodos, all bursting with energy and ready to play. At first this is fun, but the novelty soon wears off as the dodos create havoc wherever Jack and his family go. Unfortunately, his parents just don’t believe him when he blames the dodos for the mess in his bedroom, the


supermarket and the library


because as everyone knows, there are no dodos anymore! This is a delighful picturebook


with a very amusing story about being careful what you wish for. The repeated refrain ‘The dodos did it!’ will tempt children to join in when they hear the story read aloud. There is lots for children to spot in the detailed and lively illustrations and subtle visual jokes to engage the adult reader. A second successful picturebook from the creator of Nine Lives Newton. Look out for the surprise twist at the end! SMc


18 Books for Keeps No.247 March 2021 everyday, as are the responses.


Her images are uncluttered and bold making full use of the whole page. Clear outlines and textured crayon ensure the visual language is interesting and immediate without being overwhelming. Rabbit, while clearly a rabbit, is also that child reading the book. His chunky body neatly dressed in his favourite top and trousers with pockets dominates the pages, the centre of attention. His activities are just what one would expect and a child can understand – whether getting dressed (a bit of a struggle) to splashing in puddles, kicking a ball and finally enjoying that bath he didn’t want to have. This is a picture book that really does work. FH


Slug in Love HHHHH


Rachel Bright, illus Nadia Shireen, Simon and Schuster, 32pp, 978-1471188619, £12.99 hbk


Meet Doug. Doug is a slug, who needs a hug. We can all identify with that right now. Emerging from a discarded ice-cream carton, stickily and a little mucky around the chops, but with an endearing smile, Doug is surely irresistible. Apparently not. No-one wants to give him a hug, not the ant, caterpillar, worm or spider. On plods Doug, alone. And then he meets Gail, a snail, also icky, mucky, yucky and sticky. Surely they’ll make a perfect couple. But that’s not how love works and there’s simply no spark between this slimy pair. Just as it seems Doug


while the


will never get his hug, love comes flying by, as it so often does. After the emotional rollercoaster of the story, readers are left with the gorgeous, happy image of a slug in love. Told with extraordinary economy,


every line, word and image delivers feeling and intent, and simple as it seems, there’s real emotional depth to the story. Doug’s despair at ever finding love is echoed in a rainy landscape, flowers drooping, and it’s heartbreaking,


scene in


which Doug and Gail realise they are not meant to be is brilliantly, wordlessly explained, the turn of a page changing everything. Superb. AR


One Little Bird One little


HHHH


Sheryl Webster, illus Helen Shoesmith, Oxford, 978-0192773661, 32pp, £6.99 pbk


bird changes the world


for everyone in this environmentally themed picture book, proving that no matter how small and powerless you are or feel, you can make a difference by taking a stand. Rosa the robin is happy in her tree top nest, until a man cuts down the tree – the shadow it casts is no good for his lettuce crop. Furious, Rosa takes his hat and makes a new home from it on top of his roof. News of her action spreads through the animal world (‘swept along streams, flashed through forests and sailed over oceans’). Soon other animals, similarly forced out of their homes, are following Rosa’s lead and moving into people’s houses. We see sloths on sofas, lions in laundry baskets and even lemurs in loos. As tensions rise, Rosa swoops down to mediate; now the humans understand how the animals feel, and things change as a result. Rosa puts a friendly face to an


important issue. The book skilfully explains one of the major problems facing the world in a way that young children


can understand, while


offering home and a positive message about joint action. Helen Shoesmith’s illustrations are very appealing and readers will enjoy spotting


all the


birds, animals and minibeasts they contain. A final page of text contains suggestions for things children can do right now to improve their own local environment for wildlife. LS


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