Mr Leopard’s Bookshop / All the Wonderful Ways to Read

Mr Leopard’s Bookshop
Alexa Brown and Julia Christians

Sophie needs to buy a present for her very best pal, her pug puppy Boss but it’s rather late in the day so the shops are shutting. However there’s one that looks as though customers would still be welcome so she tries the door. Wow! She can hardly believe her eyes at the sight of shelves and stacks of books everywhere she looks. Then suddenly the shop’s manager emerges; it’s the great Mr Leopard. The surprise causes Sophie’s mum to fall flat, but Mr Leopard is a kindly soul and offers to help the girl immediately.

He starts piling up books and bringing them for Sophie to peruse but she’s disappointed: nothing has that special sparkle she wants for a present for Boss.

Undaunted, Mr Leopard draws back a curtain to reveal something very unexpected

When Sophie has got over her initial shock sufficiently to listen to the characters that address her, she spies a rug on which is a dog holding a pen: surely it can’t be, but yes …

It can only be in a magical place such as Mr Leopard’s Bookshop where such amazing things can happen; but that isn’t the end of the amazing events, for the very next day Sophie throws a birthday party for Boss but she finds herself playing host to rather more guests than she’d anticipated.

Providing surprise after surprise, Alexa Brown’s jolly rhyming text bounces along merrily making the book an enjoyable read aloud and Julia Christians’s wonderful scenes of Mr Leopard’s establishment are a bibliophiles delight – once they’ve got over seeing the kind of characters it attracts.

All the Wonderful Ways to Read
Laura Baker and Sandra de la Prada
Little Tiger

‘Each reader is different – each one unique!’ So says author Laura Baker early on in this rhyming exploration of reading styles and celebration of the power of books. A power that takes readers on journeys to places far and near and perhaps to fantastic new worlds. It’s possible to go anywhere at all so long as you have the right book to read. Books can empower the reader, help them solve a problem, help them find meaning in their own experiences or those of others: reading can completely transform a person’s life, Reading develops the imagination and connects us; and I suspect anyone reading this picture book would find examples of ways of connecting.

Some may even become authors and/or illustrators, like those we meet in Sandra de la Prada’s scene of a group of people creating pictures and that showing a queue of eager readers waiting for an author to sign copies of her book.

The crucial thing that emerges from Laura’s text is that what’s important isn’t so much what you read, where or how you read, or how fast or slowly you read, but that you DO read. There are books out there waiting for everyone to discover and love: this fun one included.

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