Ten Little Dogs / Ten Little Yoga Frogs

Ten Little Dogs
Ruth Brown
Scallywag Press

Who can fail to delight in this rhyming countdown by well-loved and respected author/illustrator Ruth Brown. Her array of pooches look such engaging creatures as they romp energetically in all kinds of settings indoors and out with their number diminishing on each double spread

until just one remains. But not for long because being alone is not nearly as much fun as dashing off to rejoin your nine friends cavorting and barking loudly in the park.

Yes there’s some simple maths herein but it’s the spirited illustrations that count for much of the pleasure to be discovered between the covers of this book. Every double spread is a visual feast with detailed, realistic images of adorable canines in beautiful surroundings, accompanied by a four line text with perfectly calculated page turns.
A treat for dog lovers of all ages, this.

Ten Little Yoga Frogs
Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley
Catch a Star

This is a fun way to engage in some counting practice while at the same time trying some basic yoga poses along with the snazzily attired yogi frogs.

Wearing both my foundation stage teacher hat and my yoga teacher hat simultaneously, I absolutely love this rhyming counting book. It’s great to see that not all the participants are experts at doing the poses: take a look at these three.

And who wouldn’t want to respond with a resounding yes to the invitation on the final spread …

With its predictable text and hilarious illustrations (each spread has a small box in the corner showing the specific yoga asana the frogs are doing) this book would make a smashing addition to any early years setting or foundation stage classroom, as well as being one to add to family collections where there are young children.

All Manner of Board Books

Hello You!
illustrated by Stephen Barker
Campbell Books
With its die-cut cover, this is a smashing book for adults to share with their babies. Herein they can meet familiar family faces : mummy (being funny), daddy doing a wiggly dance, a snoozing grandad and a snuggly grandma.
The final spread is a gatefold guessing game that’s just right for developing early language and there is also an additional peep hole to play peek-a-boo.
Stephen Barker’s alluring captioned images stand out from the brightly coloured backgrounds.

Lizzy the Lamb
Axel Scheffler
Campbell Books
Lizzy the lamb is a lively creature. As she frolics and cavorts in the fields, she sometimes gets splashed by the geese so she shakes her fleece dry before moving on to chase the bunnies, but they’re too quick for her. It’s a tired but happy Lizzy that ends the day bleating her satisfaction, with a “Baa, baa!” to her farmyard pals.
Accompanying the rhyming narrative are Alex Scheffler’s droll illustrations – the full page ones capturing Lizzy’s joie de vivre perfectly and the vignettes that focus on some of the other animal characters. Little ones will enjoy working the sliders and wheel, joining in with the relevant animal sounds and perhaps, adding some leaping, shaking and hopping actions. In so doing they’ll be developing their fine and gross motor skills, and sound/symbol awareness.

Honeybee
illustrated by Teresa Bellon
Campbell Books
A honeybee acts as the narrator of this ‘eco-friendly’ natural history book, introducing little ones to her world through a rhyming text and labelled scenes.
The latter offer a look inside a beehive and a close up of a honeycomb while the bee describes simply, the processes of pollination, the collection and use of nectar in the making of honey, as well as how little humans can help the honeybees that live close to their homes.
Teresa Bellon’s illustrations of bees at work are engaging and playful; most have moving parts to add to the fun. Aimed at encouraging preschoolers to become nature lovers, this is one of a new “My Little Green World’ series that are sustainably made with FSC paper and printed with vegetable inks.

Goodnight Farm
Carmen Saldaña
Little Tiger
Peep-through pages enable little ones to discover a wealth of farm animals and bid them a “goodnight” as, accompanied by a collie dog, and guided by Becky Davies’ brief rhyming narrative, they visit a hillside, a grassy pasture, hen house, a pond, the stable, a flock of sheep in the field as the moon shines bright above.
In addition to the main rhyme, simple farm related facts are scattered throughout Carmen Saldaña’s starlight scenes offering simple snippets of information such as ‘Ducks can sleep right on the water.’ or ‘Pigs sleep a lot – up to 11 hours a day!’ (something even this adult reviewer didn’t know.)
Just right for sharing with sleepy humans just before bed.

Let’s Go! On a Plane
Let’s Go! On a Digger

Rosalyn Albert and Natalia Moore
Catch a Star
Whether they prefer the excitement of boarding an aeroplane and jetting off to a holiday destination in the tropics or keeping their feet firmly on the ground and watching the digger driver hard at work on a construction site, the very youngest children will find plenty to interest them in these new additions to the popular Let’s Go series.
In both books children act as narrators of Rosalyn Albert’s simple text which takes the form of rhyming couplets, while Natalia Moore’s strikingly coloured spreads fill in the detail.

Everybody Worries / Dino Love

Everybody Worries
Jon Burgerman
Oxford University Press

No matter what they might say to the contrary, it’s probably true that Everybody Worries – probably for many of us, more often during this past year than at any other time.

Jon Burgerman’s typically zany characters offer reassurance to youngsters as they reveal that even the coolest, bravest, toughest and smartest worry.

That not everyone worries about the same things is demonstrated: what bothers one person might well be relished by others, although worrying is a normal response to life’s changes. You might experience an increased heart rate, or feel queasy as a result so it’s great to have some strategies to help you cope. You can talk to a friend, draw and name your worries

and try some slow, deep breathing, sleep and eat well and keep fit.

Shared worries help to relieve the angst and rest assured, no matter what, nothing lasts forever; do what you can for others – togetherness is key, (even if right now you can’t get physically close) and remember, ‘We can overcome anything, when we’re there for each other.’

The perfect panacea for pandemic wobbles, Jon Burgerman’s book is full of wisdom and practical suggestions: have it to hand to share with little ones whenever needed.

Dino Love
Michelle Worthington and Veronica Montoya
Catch a Star

There’s a lot to learn when you start at nursery or preschool and so it is for the little dinosaur character in this simple story.

First there are those goodbyes to family members … ” I’ll miss you(s)” to cope with at the door. However these apprehensive feelings soon give way to lots of love and friendship opportunities … so long as you’re open to new experiences, willing to try your best

and remember to take some deep breaths should you feel anxious.

Yes, love is often expressed verbally, but also through actions. This is what the little dinosaur discovers as, secure in the love of family, s/he embraces the new and welcomes the multiplicity of opportunities that stepping out of your comfort zone can offer.

Many little humans are dinosaur enthusiasts and this reassuring book is just right to share and talk about when youngsters are about to take those next steps. Michelle Worthington’s minimal verbal narrative allows Veronica Montoya’s bright, jolly scenes to do much of the telling.

Board Book Fun Galore

Let’s Go! On a Tractor
Let’s Go! On a Train

Rosalyn Albert and Natalia Moore
Catch A Star

These two new titles in the Let’s Go! transport series offer further journeys of discovery for toddlers.

Told in Rosalyn Albert’s catchy rhyming story-telling narratives and Natalia Moore’s bright, lively scenes they’re just right to engage the very young.

The tractor driver in the first title takes readers around the farm introducing the farmer, crops, animals and their sounds, and some very squelchy mud – it’s all in a days work.

The train of the second book is an old-fashioned steam train – a very shiny one. We meet the driver and a ticket collector as the train wheels click clack through the countryside with the two young narrators relating the events of their long journey that lasts from morning to evening.

These sturdy books are just the right size for small hands to hold while they retell themselves the stories once an adult has shared them.

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! At the Fair
Gregory Goose is on the Loose! Up the Mountain

Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley
Catch A Star

Gregory Goose is on the loose again at new locations in two new catchy rhyming hide and seek adventures.

Gregory is an ace when it comes to hiding himself away in plain sight – even this adult reviewer had to search really hard a couple of times to locate him, so these books will certainly hone the observation skills of your little ones.

Whether you’re feeling in summery style or a snowy wintry mood, Mandy Stanley’s bright, captivating illustrations provide plenty to talk about on every spread, and what delight to discover the whereabouts of Gregory at every turn of the page.

Where’s Mrs Queen?
Ingela P Arrhenius
Nosy Crow

This addition to the deservedly popular. sturdy, felt flap series follows the same 5 spreads format with the final flap covering a surprise mirror – something that fascinates even babies just a few months old.

Here the location is London, and in the search for ‘Mrs Queen’ little ones will find a policeman, (I’d have preferred officer here), the driver of a double-decker bus, a soldier wearing a busby, said Queen in a carriage before they all assemble to ask ‘And where are you?’

With those attention grabbing, bright, retro style illustrations of Ingela Arrhenius, this board book is great of fun for the very youngest.

Board Book Fun

Making Tracks: Snow
Cocorette
Child’s Play

Whether it’s young Alyssa on her snowboard, a polar bear searching for food, Jian on her sled, a hungry robin looking for worms or the driver of a snowmobile, their actions make tracks in the otherwise pristine snow.

With die-cuts and flaps on every spread this is a lovely tactile board book for little fingers to explore as they respond to the question ‘Who is making tracks?’ at every page turn and enjoy the simple, brightly coloured images.

Gregory Goose in the Jungle
Gregory Goose on the Moon

Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley
Catch a Star

Gregory Goose is on the loose in two different locations, one earthly, the other lunar – eventually!
Before that, guided in the search by a series of questions presented by means of rhyming couplets, little ones can join in the hunt.

In the first book they’ll encounter elephants, lions, a host of hungry birds, hippos, snakes and zebras before they catch up with Gregory, unless of course they manage to spot him hiding in plain sight on every spread.

The second adventure sees the little goose donning his space boots and zooming around the galaxy before his game of hide-and-seek finally takes him to that place whereon he plants his flag before sharing in the welcoming spread.

Bright, jolly art from Mandy Stanley accompanies Hilary Robinson’s interactive narratives.

I particularly like the detail in his kit boxes that set the scene at the start of each story.

Let’s Go! On a Rocket
Let’s Go! On a Ferry

Rosalyn Albert and Natalie Moore
Catch a Star

Through Rosalyn Albert’s engaging rhyming texts and Natalie Moore’s bright alluring illustrations, toddlers can join the child adventurers in these two board books, becoming space explorers who entertain the possibility of meeting aliens in the first story, and passengers on a ferry ride whose captain takes them far out and fast, before bringing them safely back to the wharf.

In this new series, as well as enjoying the excursions, tinies will likely acquire some new vocabulary along with way.

Mary Had a Little Lamb & This Little Piggy / Little White Fish, Little White Fish has a Party, Little White Fish is So Happy

Mary Had a Little Lamb
This Little Piggy

Jarvis
Walker Books

Jarvis has taken as his starting point for these board books the opening lines from two nursery rhymes and from them created one with colour connections, the other with a counting twist.

So yes, Mary did have a white-fleeced little lamb that decided to follow her. But then so too did an orange tiger, a pink dancing hippo, a cool red monkey, a tiny purple mouse, a snapping green crocodile and a yellow giraffe.
Where though are they all going in Pied Piper fashion, making a merry din before boarding a bus takes them all to their destination

and a treat…

One little piggy went to market, so the rhyme says and Jarvis does too. Rather than staying home however, two more make a mess of parking their car; three get themselves in a terrible tangle when learning to knit; four get struck by the fitness craze. Block your ears when five make music.

Six scoff all the spuds, seven try their trotters as dancers, eight become super pigs but nine –phoah! pongy piggies all.
At least when ten get together they can all agree, somewhere muddy is the best place to be.

With Jarvis’ funky animals cavorting across the pages, lively little ones are going to love these neo nursery rhymes as they absorb the colour connections and join in counting the piggies. Above all though, they’re terrific fun.

Little White Fish
Little White Fish has a Party
Little White Fish is So Happy

Guido van Genechten
Catch a Star

These board books featuring Little White Fish can be read just for fun, but each has an inherent educational element.

In the first, the little fish (not strictly speaking white for he has a rainbow stripe along his back), has lost his mummy and is feeling sad. In his search he encounters other differently coloured sea creatures – a red crab, an orange starfish a yellow snail, a green turtle, a large blue whale, a purple octopus. Clearly none of these fits the bill but what about a large fish that also sports a rainbow across her back …

In the second book, the little fish celebrates his second birthday with a party to which he invites his friends that all arrive in pairs that show opposites; for example a small sea urchin and a big one,

a long sea snake and a short one, a sad dolphin and a happy one. (We discover why one is sad on the final spread that shows all twelve guests).

The third book introduces positional vocabulary (prepositions):  when his Mummy comes to get him, Little White Fish bids farewell to his playmates – snail in the shell, frog on the rock, crab behind the rock etc. then swims away in front of his mum assuring the others he’ll be back to play the next day.

With their simple narratives and vibrant sea creatures that stand out against the predominantly black backgrounds, all three are a delight to share with very young children either at home or in a nursery setting.