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. Jill Bennett is the author of Learning to Read with Picture Books and heads up a nursery unit. Fen Coles is co-director at Letterbox Library. Jane Churchill is a children’s book consultant. Pam Dix is a former librarian and chair of Ibby UK. Stuart Dyer is headteacher of a primary school in East Devon. 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 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. Helen Kelsey is a primary school teacher and leads an OU/UKLA Teachers’ Reading Group Matthew Martin is a primary school teacher.

Sue McGonigle is a Lecturer in Primary Education and Co-Creator of Margaret Pemberton is a school library consultant and blogs at 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 Nicholas Tucker is honorary senior lecturer in Cultural and Community Studies at Sussex University. Clare Zinkin is a children’s book consultant, writer and editor.

Seeing sense: visual literacy as a tool for libraries, learning and reader development


Jake Hope, Facet Publishing, 9781783304417, £39.95 (CILIP members £31.96)

Jake Hope explores a variety of ways of thinking about visual literacy in the context of children’s books and libraries in this useful toolkit for librarians, published by CILIP. The reader will be left in no doubt about the power of the visual environment, and of picture books in particular, to enhance and enrich our lives.


book is divided into sections exploring visual literacy, reading, the importance of visual representation and inclusion, alongside a consideration of aspects of the publishing world, the role of illustration prizes and awards and the creation of visually rich learning environments. There are examples of good practice and case studies throughout. The strongest sections are the many interviews that Jake has carried out with practitioners in the field of children’s literature, particularly those

concerned with

illustration and book production. It is fascinating to hear an illustrator’s thought processes and the ideas behind the books, and also to hear from agents, designers and publishers about the intricacies of developing a publishing idea and taking it to fruition. The list of interviews is included in the book and is a useful resource for those looking for good children’s illustrators. I particularly enjoyed Steve Jenkins’ comment

about his ‘light bulb’

moment for his wonderful Actual Size – his observation that every adult and child measured their hands against the cast of a gorilla’s hand on a visit

reviews Books About Children’s Books

needed for these discussions, the ‘book talk’, that can be developed between

adults says and

given, drawing on art illustration Pullman

negative terminology.

literacy and the associations

children is

history and As Philip

commenting on the importance of visual


very to

be found about media studies: ‘No visual literacy, no democracy: it’s as simple as that’. There is a strong history of pedagogical thinking and practical teaching guidelines on this important area in both media studies and

children’s literature

(not all identified in the references in this book), which readers need to be aware of if they are going to work on this further. Nevertheless this book will provide an introduction for those new to the field. Of great importance,

to San Diego zoo. Jake’s informal writing style, use of first names and the present tense creates a sense of intimacy and of networking. The book is packaged between a foreword by Philip Pullman and an afterword by Nick Sharratt, further adding to the sense of being in touch with the names in the current children’s book world. The

book outlines the history

of visual literacy and the need for librarians and others to be aware of the importance of the visual in helping children to understand the world around them. The great majority of children will have access to picture books and these can provide an early


in the current context, is the chapter exploring the importance of

in his introduction, sadly


particularly visual

representation and inclusion. This could be developed in far more depth, indeed it could be the subject of a book on its own, and certainly could have referenced a broader range of research.

However, it will provide

an important starting point for more structured and analytical thinking on the content of library collections. The section on prizes and awards provides an overview of illustration awards and suggests ideas and ways of using these for promotion work and to support reader development in libraries. Similarly the practical suggestions on library designs and activities, carefully selected


starting point for developing visual awareness,

alongside and indeed as part of the pleasure of reading. Some of the language and technical terminology

around the world, are good source material.

The book has a delightful cover illustration by Olivia Lomenach Gill. PD

Under 5s Pre – School/Nursery/Infant Just One of Those Days HHHHH

Jill Murphy, Macmillan, 40pp, 978152902370, £12.99 hbk

‘It was just one of those days’, says Mr Bear (perhaps ruthfully) reflecting on the day that has just gone. And it certainly was, as the Bear family face the challenge of a morning that follows a long night. So they wake late and from that moment on the day is filled with minor, irritating catastrophes – the coffee gets spilt, Someone Else gets the Tyrannosaurus to play with ... nothing is quite right. But even days that are off kilter will end – and a pizza take away, a surprise – and an early night with bedtime story will restore the equilibrium.

Bear family back as Jill Murphy with a deft

It is a pleasure to welcome the touch and engaging, gentle

humour portrays the events of ‘just one of those days’; events every family will recognise allowing young listeners to feel engaged and adults to enjoy a situation all too familiar but here safe within the covers of a book. It is the very ordinariness that makes the whole so attractive. This is the sort of story that children enjoy – a tale of the everyday. Here Jill

Murphy’s perfect, no exaggeration or

storytelling is pitch forced

laughs. This is a comfortable and comforting read – as cosy

comfy as Baby Bear’s pyjamas – but never boring. Then there are Jill Murphy’s

illustrations, the Books for Keeps No.244 September 2020 19 and perfect

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