Co-operation Rules OK

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Rex Wrecks It!
Ben Clanton
Walker Books
What are T.Rexs renowned for? – destruction and Rex, the small one in this funny fable is no exception. In fact you can probably find a human one of similar disposition in every single nursery or reception class the world over. In total contrast Gizmo (a robot), Sprinkles (a cute pink unicorn rabbit) and Wild (monster) love to build. Rex would probably be deemed to have ADHD were he human; he loves nothing better than wrecking every single thing they make so “RAWR!” smash – that’s Gizmo’s OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD rocket ruined, “RAWR! RAWR!” Bang goes Sprinkles’s MAGICAL heart; “RAWR! RAWR! RAWR!” – you’ve guessed it – Wild’s ‘wooden wonder of WOWDOM’ is no more.
Out come the drawing boards: the three decide to co-construct a block castle so big that even Rex cannot topple it.

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They build; Rex destroys. Three furious friends, one remorseful (“rawry”) Rex.
Then Gizmo has an inspiration and it’s back to the drawing board, this time with Rex’s involvement at the outset,

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to build something even bigger and better and…

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eminently more wreckable.
One cannot help but applaud Rex’s playful exuberance despite its sometimes catastrophic results. (Clearly he needs help to channel it rather than misuse it.) Clanton catpures that beautifully in his pen, ink and watercolour illustrations which positively fizz with energy.
Inclusion and accommodation are the main themes that emerge from this witty portrayal of small characters and their imaginative block play.
A must have for early years settings and families with young children.

Another story where co-operation is key is:

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Bubble Trouble
Tom Percival
Bloomsbury Children’s Books pbk
A bubble blowing bonanza leads to a bust-up in more ways than one as erstwhile best friends Rueben and Felix build bigger and better machines in their endeavours to blow bigger and better bubbles than one another. When the day of the ultimate contest dawns, their complex constructions lead to catastrophe and it’s not just the bubbles, but the machines that burst well and truly.

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Back to the drawing board chaps: it’s not technology you need but teamwork – that plus a few preparatory yoga breathing exercises perhaps.
Best friends again? It all depends on Rueben’s response to Felix’s final comment.
It’s not so much bubble talk as bubble flaps in this funny cautionary tale. There is bubble talk too and lots of other environmental print that forms an integral part of the effervescent illustrations – an additional talking point.

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