Esme and the Sabre-Toothed Cub / Rita Wants a Dragon

Esme and the Sabre-Toothed Cub
Simon Philip and Magda Brol
Oxford Children’s Books

Could it be that Esme’s best friend Morris the mammoth has his tusks put slightly out of joint when a little sabre-toothed tiger cub appears in the village and charms all the cave kids by its actions. Despite the adults having shooed it away on several consecutive days, Esme asks the visitor she’s named Seb, “Would you like to be my pet?” However, Seb is far from impressed at receiving one order after another from the little stone age girl who eventually gets the message that the creature has no intention of becoming anyone’s pet.

Morris however, decides that perhaps friendship could be the way to go and of course, Esme is eager to join in their fun and games, albeit from some way off. Then trouble rears its ferocious head.

Can Esme save the day and learn a thing or two as well?

With certain similarities to our 21st century world, Simon Philip’s second story of bossy young Esme and her fellow troglodytes is another humorous read aloud, made even more so by Magda Brol’s highly exuberant scenes of this endearing prehistoric community.

Rita Wants a Dragon
Máire Zepf and Mr Ando

In the fifth of this series starring the small girl with a huge imagination, young Rita is having a bad day. Everything is going wrong and she imagines a large fiery dragon to represent her angry feelings. However, even dragons can’t remain in an angry state all the time – it’s hugely exhausting to roar

and rant, stomp and stamp and breathe fiery flames so it’s as well that they can take flight and find somewhere alone to do some slow breathing to help that rage dissipate and to talk calmly about what has gone wrong. Then anger diffused, it’s time for a snuggly cuddle with a loving grown-up, a mum for example.

With powerful images created by Mr Ando on every spread, Máire Zeph’s tale of Rita’s challenging behaviour offers parents and educators in early years settings an enjoyable starting point for discussions about feelings of anger and how to cope with them.

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