The Chocolate Unicorn / Crumbs!

Here are two recent releases in Bloomsbury Education’s series Bloomsbury Young Readers

The Chocolate Unicorn
Jenny McLachlan, illustrated by Sarah Lawrence

Olive Brown worries a lot, so much so that she misses out on all kinds of wonderful opportunities.

Then one day her Grandpa gives her a present containing chocolates of different shapes. Wanting to make them last as long as possible, she eats one each day until only her favourite is left. It’s the chocolate unicorn with fudge hooves and a glittery horn and it seems too magical even to nibble. The unicorn remains in the box and Olive looks at it every morning and evening until the day it’s no longer there.

Following a trail of footprints, she discovers its hiding place and so begins a series of learning experiences through which the unicorn shows Olive how to be, first a little bit brave and then more so,

until she’s no longer holding herself back at all.

A while later, Olive, her mum and the unicorn visit the seaside where she meets a little boy. Could it be that it’s time for the unicorn to start working his magic on somebody else who needs to find some courage?

With gently humorous illustrations by Sarah Lawrence, this is a charming story for children who are growing in confidence towards becoming independent readers,

Crumbs!
Ben Bailey Smith, illustrated by Sav Akyüz

Ben Bailey Smith, actor and rapper has written this story of Farmer Dan’s missing lunch in rhyme.

When the farmer discovers the sandwich he’s been so eagerly anticipating is no longer in his lunch box his wife – a much brighter character – suggests an animal is responsible. But which one? Is it Harry the horse, Bridget the chicken

or perhaps, Bill the pig?

Dan is absolutely determined to track down the culprit that’s gobbled up his favourite egg mayonnaise sandwich and left him with a few crumbs.

A funny tale with spirited illustrations by Sav Akyüz, that should go down well with young readers whether or not they share Farmer Dan’s penchant for egg mayonnaise sandwiches.

Bear Moves

Bear Moves
Ben Bailey Smith and Sav Akyūz
Walker Books

The purple ursine character from I Am Bear returns and, sporting his sweatbands, he’s in groovy mood.

With Bunny on DJ duty it’s time to show off those funky moves. First off it’s Furry Breaking – wow this guy certainly has attitude!

Next we have Running Bear, quickly followed by the Robot and there’s even a spot of limbo.

Should this character be auditioning for the next Strictly Come Dancing series one wonders as he grabs himself a partner and switches to ballroom mode with a foxtrot

This he follows with a doughnut fuelled Belly Dance,

a quickstep – oh no that’s his pal squirrel attempting to beat a hasty retreat – and next, bums a-winding, everybody do the twist.

Even then, this dance enthusiast isn’t quite done but for his grand finale he requires an altogether sweeter partner …

It’s pretty exhausting all this dancing so you won’t be surprised that Bear’s last move is into sleep mode zzzzz …

You can really feel and hear the beat in rapper Ben Bailey Smith’s (aka Doc Brown) rhyming text, while Sav Akyūz shows the action both frenzied and smooth, in bold colours outlined in thick black lines

Great for child participation is this zany offering.

I Am Bear

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I Am Bear
Ben Bailey Smith and Sav Akyüz
Walker Books
Our initial introduction to the ursine narrator of this wonderfully anarchic offering from the pen of actor and rapper Doc Brown (aka Ben Bailey Smith) shows him as a bare pink-skinned character who, having turned his bum on squirrel,

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lumbers off to don a purple onesie and adopt a confrontational stance.
We next see Bear in the process of consuming his favourite nosh while continuing with his narration thus …

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After which he discards his protective gear before going on to play a knock! knock! joke on a red squirrel, though only one animal finds that at all funny.
Next comes a spot of magic: first off fishing with a wand, followed by a vanishing act and further fun and games, Bear’s favourite being “Cops and robbers.”

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Seems he’s managed to set up another squirrel here.
It looks like this Bear is a dab hand when it comes to wielding a paintbrush too, and who can blame him for beating a rather hasty retreat …

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Delivered as it is with a superb verbal economy, this riotous rapping rhyme of a picture book is perfect for beginning readers as well as for reading aloud.
Storyboard artist Sav Akyüz’s rendering of Bear and the other characters is suitably upbeat and perfectly in-keeping with the playful text and almost gives the impression the visuals have been created with spray cans or daubed with house painting brushes.
Published under the Walker Entertainment imprint, there’s assuredly plenty to entertain herein but equally there are a whole lot of inbuilt literacy lessons too.

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