A Tickled Tiger, A Best Birthday Present, A Hide-and-Scare Bear

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Never Tickle a Tiger
Pamela Butchart and Marc Boutavant
Bloomsbury Children’s Books pbk
Like lots of children, Izzy finds it extremely difficult to keep still; she just cannot help shuffling, jiggling, squirming, twitching, wriggling or fiddling. It matters not where she is – home or school, at parties even, Izzy is constantly a-fidget.
When her class goes to visit the zoo, Izzy gets the fidgets as soon as they’re through the gates. Before long she’s stroked the snakes, excited the elephants, bothered the bears and much more.

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“… never tickle a tiger!” warns Miss Pottterhurst. But after lunch, Izzy, feather in hand is immediately heading for the tiger enclosure. Confronted with a large striped tail, the opportunity is just impossible to resist. Out goes that feather and …

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Raa-aa-ah! “ roars the tiger triggering a concatenation of action and reaction

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culminating in an enormous … SLPAAAASH! as hippo is cascaded into the penguins’ pool.

 

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Then it’s down to Izzy to quell the brouhaha she’s instigated. But has she been cured of her predilection for poking and prodding?
This fun-filled tale managed to keep even the Izzy’s among my audience riveted as they followed the action in Marc Boutavant’s exuberant, energetic, playful pictures, relishing each and every occurrence of ‘Izzy- itis’ as one among them commented. I suspect that hedgehog enjoyed the fun too.

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The Best Birthday Present Ever
Ben Mantle
Macmillan Children’s Books
Squirrel’s determination to give his best friend Bear, the very best birthday gift results in a great deal of thought on his part. That Squirrel is something of a creative thinker comes through loud and clear when we see what he finally decides upon. Satisfied with his choice of gift, Squirrel wraps it carefully disguising it well and soon it’s party day – Big Bear’s Birthday Bonanza no less.
When it comes to present-opening time –after the dancing, games and cake eating – it’s clear that Bear has some pretty impressive gifts

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and finally it comes to Squirrel’s offering. By this time, Squirrel is starting to feel just a little nervous and initially Bear himself appears nonplussed when he unwraps his package.

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It’s in response to the comments of some of the other animals however, that Bear then demonstrates that he, like his best friend, Squirrel, is indeed a creative thinker. And the following week, he goes on to demonstrate just how, until their very favourite stick game (poking things) results in –

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Squirrel rues the passing of said stick but Bear quickly realizes that two sticks can be better than one.

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Can you read it again,” was the instant response after I shared this one with some 4s to 6s. What further accolade could an author want? Before doing so however, we spent a considerable time relishing the delicious details in Ben Mantle’s amusing illustrations.

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The party scene is a visual treat in more than one sense.

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The Hide-and-Scare Bear
Ivan Bates
Brubaker, Ford & Friends (Templar Publishing) pbk
The large ursine character in this rhyming story is badly behaved and rude: worst of all though is his frequent playing of his “Hide and Scare” game. This involves hiding behind a tree and then leaping out and roaring at unsuspecting passers by.

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Eventually the woodland animals decide something must be done and call for a brave volunteer to stand up to Bear. Rabbit steps forward offering to help, not with anger however, but with kindness.
So, as the next ‘ROAR!’ sends the other creatures scattering, Rabbit stands firm to face the bear and waits patiently for her opportunity to deliver her lesson in kindness. Then it’s Bear’s turn to provide some hugs and soon it’s not only Rabbit on the receiving end of those Big Bear squeezes.

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The text lollops along rhythmically making it a pleasure to read aloud and the woodland watercolour illustrations are delightfully expressive.
Here’s the response of one of my five year old listeners …

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