Shelly Unwin and Katherine Battersby
Allen & Unwin
Here are three little books dedicated to being a particular age, each one using different animal characters – a small one and an adult.
Celebrating being three is a little alligator; a small meerkat and a parent look at the specialness of becoming four; and a young goat plus parent explore what being five brings.
Weaving in such concepts as basic one to one counting, addition, numbers, shapes, change, seasons, and the senses into her rhyming text, the author gently builds in opportunities to extend the listener’s language while at the same time celebrating each specific age.
Thus being Three encompasses some favourite fairy tale titles, being halfway up and the idea of triplets.
Four introduces compass points, quarters and the seasons;
and Five mentions the vowels, days of the week, questioning words and the senses.
Each book will need a fair bit of adult/child discussion and exploration with the aid of Katherine Battersby’s engaging art; but the most important element every time is the specialness of the child at which ever age they are.
As a teacher I’ve always been concerned about parents trying to make their children look and act older than they are; these small books are a helpful counter to that.
Archie’s First Day at School
Archie Goes to the Doctor
The creator of the Shady Bay Buddies books and soft toys, Emma Brown, a crochet expert, started making up the stories when her daughters were young, and these two titles are part of a series that aims to provide reassurance and information to help very young children overcome their ‘first time’ anxieties.
In the first story Archie sets off for his first day at school with Bunny his toy, his big sister, Amber and his mum. He’s greeted at the door by his teacher, bids his mum farewell, chooses a coat peg and then is allocated somewhere to sit
Soon he’s busy making a model and accidentally spills paint on Bunny.
He spills milk on him at snack time: seemingly Archie is rather excited.
Outside play is followed by lunch with his friend Breeze.
After a story, it’s time to go home and Amber is waiting for him, although surprisingly, not his mum. Archie says he’s enjoyed himself but isn’t too sure about Bunny.
In the second story Archie is outside with his sister and being very adventurous on the swing when suddenly he finds himself on the ground with a hurt arm.
He’s somewhat alarmed to hear he has to go to the doctors with Mum.
In the waiting room he meets his friend Breeze who has earache. Soon it’s time to go into Doctor Hodge’s surgery where after an examination of his arm, Archie learns nothing is broken but he needs to wear a sling.
Then after a quick reassuring chat to Breeze, he goes off home.
With interesting mixed-media backdrops (listeners can search for Archie’s bunny at every turn of the page), appealing cuddly toy characters, and stories told simply and directly, these books should help allay first time nerves.