Sail Away Dragon

 

Sail Away Dragon
Barbara Joosse and Randy Cecil
Walker Books

The twosome from Lovabye Dragon and Evermore Dragon return as the friends sally forth, with wicker basket, spyglass, banner, box of ‘goodie gumdrops’ and horn, for an adventure on the ocean.

As they sail towards the far-est Far Away they encounter dolphins, spouting whales, Bad Hats …

from whom they acquire a cat and thus sail on in ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ style for a year and a day till they begin to despair they’ll ever reach their Far Away destination.

They do however; and thereon they consume the goodie gumdrops, dance, sound their horn and write a note which they place in a bottle and cast upon the ocean.

Thereafter they sleep and dream beneath the stars.

Like all magical adventures though, home calls through their dreams and so homewards they sail, passing wondrous sights

until each returns to separate slumbering quarters – Girl to her ‘pluffy little eiderdown bed’ and Dragon to lie curled above the castle door ‘guarding Girl, his friend forevermore.’

The combination of Joosse’s dreamy lilting text and Cecil’s beautiful, textured scenes is magical. The whole thing has the lingering, haunting quality of a dream one doesn’t want to end.

If you’ve yet to meet this enchanting pair, do try their latest adventure.

Lois Looks for Bob: At Home / At the Park & Better Together

Lois Looks for Bob at Home
Lois Looks for Bob at the Park

Gerry Turley
Nosy Crow
In an exciting new series, two amusing, sturdily build board books involve toddlers in a game of hide and seek to find a missing bird.
Lois is a black cat; Bob her unlikely, feathered friend.
In the first book, Bob has disappeared somewhere indoors but has left a trail of yellow feathers to help Lois in her search. The canny feline hunts high and low and in the process introduces readers to a host of other resident animals with unlikely names, before locating her friend (sans a few feathers).
I’m not sure what Bob was doing in the park but it’s the location for Lois’ second search.
There are many possible hiding places as well as a hilariously named set of park residents to discover (Derek and Susan ducks, Roger the squirrel, Cynthia snail …

and Frank the peacock) before her feathered pal is finally found.
The simple question and answer text involves young listeners from the outset and will keep them amused throughout Lois’ investigations during which they’ll be encountering a range of positional prepositions.

Better Together
Barbara Joosse, Anneke Lisberg and Jared Andrew Schorr
Abrams Appleseed
Die-cut gatefold pages turn single animals – a nervous zebra, a hungry bat,



a curious crow, a frisky meerkat, a brave prairie dog and a little rat into members of their respective communities as each is comforted, fed, or otherwise nurtured by its fellows.
The penultimate spread has an infant with its human family who have all gatherered together to celebrate its first birthday.

Observant readers will notice that along with the humans, each animal has also found its way into the birthday party.
There’s a final ‘Fun Things to Know’ spread that provides some brief facts about some ways the featured animals help each other.
Satisfying rhyming or alliterative phrases such as ‘flicky ticky’, ‘rumbly tumbly’ and ‘doodle daddle’ enliven the brief text and Schorr’s densely coloured collage illustrations offer attractive animal environments.

I’ve signed the charter  

Aspects of Love

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Evermore Dragon
Barbara Joosse and Randy Cecil
Walker Books
The friendship forged in Lovabye Dragon between Girl and Dragon grows deeper here as the two decide upon the game for the day. Hide-and-Seek it will be and off goes Dragon to hide – supposedly.

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Like the good friend that she is though, Girl plays along searching diligently high and low although she can surely see that Drag-enormo self until …

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Then it’s Girl’s turn to hide and off she runs and runs … to a faraway hidey-hole where she waits … and waits and yawns and …
Dragon meanwhile continues to search but where oh where can Girl be?

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Girl awakes in the ‘Deep, deep, dark night.’ Dragonless and entirely alone and,
she cried silver tears/ worry worry tears/ and her heart thumped a sound/ a trem-below sound/ that only Dragon friends,/ very very special friends, can hear.’
And Dragon hears the summoning cry and, lighting up the sky with his dragon breath he flies to her rescue, enveloping her in his wings.

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I am here,” to which she responds “You’re a dear,”.
With its sprinklings of innovative language, and just the right frisson of fear, the beautifully constructed lyrical text combined with the dream-like scenes in muted greens, greys and blues into which are dropped Girl and her glowing yellow gown, is perfect for story time sharing, especially at the end of the day, be it at home or school. It certainly went down a treat with my audience of fives and sixes.

An altogether different celebration of love comes in:

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Big Book of Love
Catherine and Laurence Anholt
Orchard Books
Bursting with joie de vivre is this small child’s rhyming recitation of everything he (I think, but could equally be, she) loves. There’s the playful pup that leads child and reader across fields to meet friends, frolic in the waves, run in the rain, ride on a train to the colourful bustling city

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full of all manner of people and places of visit not least the library…

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And that can, in turn lead to exciting adventures with animals large and small and sometimes even a bit scary. But then there’s always the safety of home and a house full of love to come back to. …

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If only every child could be so lucky …
There’s so much to explore in Catherine’s child-centric scenes: every spread is brimming over with things to talk about, count or simply enjoy.

A look at love from a canine viewpoint in
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Love is My Favourite Thing
Emma Chichester Clark
Jonathan Cape
This book is based on the author’s own dog, a character that became the star of Plumdog Blog. Here, Plum is that narrator of her own story, a story wherein readers learn just how much love there is in her life. She loves among other things, wind, snow, sun, treats and sticks; she loves the children next door and of course, her ‘mummy and daddy’ aka Emma and Rupert and the things they do together. Equally they love her too.
Occasionally though, Plum’s zest for life and love gets her into trouble and once she’s got into a little bit of trouble …

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things seem to escalate till she’s in a whole lot of trouble …

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Even that’s not the worst part of the whole sorry chain of events – there’s the ice-cream episode too, after which poor Plum is banished to bed. Has love finally run out where this particular dog is concerned? Of course not but she definitely does need to rein in some of that canine enthusiasm especially where ice-cream and water are concerned.
A charming celebration of unconditional love, pooch style. I’m no lover of dogs but Plum as portrayed by Emma Chichester Clark, certainly won my heart.

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