The Perfect Fit

The Perfect Fit
Naomi Jones and James Jones
Oxford Children’s Books

This is a story about what happens when a triangle that feels different among the circles decides to embark on a journey to find a community wherein she feels she belongs.

The squares are welcoming and invite the newcomer to play with them. With high hopes she joins in their building but then despite encouraging comments from her fellow builders, Triangle feels she must move on …

The hexagons are similarly accommodating though still Triangle worries about being different and continues her search. Increasingly despondent she begins to feel that perhaps she’s the only triangle there is, but then a star speaks and hope returns. On goes the search till finally there before her …

However there are limits to the games that triangles can play – no rolling for instance. Triangle remembers the fun she had with all those other shapes and …

A smashing celebration of difference and diversity showing that to fit in, doesn’t mean you have to be like everyone else: a variety of experience leads to a richer community. Life is much more enjoyable when people welcome those who are different, enabling everyone to feel comfortable about themselves. The key is to go beyond the confines of your perceived identity.

This seemingly simple story inspired by author Naomi and illustrator James son’s struggle to fit in when he started nursery, is a perfect foundation stage book for fostering personal, social and emotional development. It’s also rich in mathematical potential.

All Sorts

All Sorts
Pippa Goodheart and Emily Rand
Flying Eye Books

Frankie, like many small children in nurseries and early years classrooms, loves the playful mathematical activity of sorting, separating her belongings by various different criteria such as colour, shape and size.

She does a similar thing making sets of flowers and trees,

vehicles and animals too.

Then she tries humans; that starts fairly easily and with a degree of clarity but then things get more tricky.

Thereafter things get even more problematic as she wonders “How am I going to sort myself?”

Eventually Frankie finds herself sitting in the middle of several intersecting sets as she draws a conclusion about her uniqueness …

– an exciting understanding that leads to a glorious musical rendition …

followed by a let’s mix-up together celebratory dance.

After which everything resumed its wonderfully mixed up, muddled-up normality – sorted at last!

I love how Pippa, with her straightforward narrative and Emily with her exuberant, beautifully patterned scenes of things unsorted and sorted, have created a warm-hearted, joyful acclamation of how individual uniqueness leads to a glorious mixture where differences are not only accepted but also celebrated.

That’s NOT How You Do It!

%0a

That’s NOT How You Do It!
Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar
Child’s Play
Think how boring our lives would be if everyone did things in exactly the same way, but that appears to be how one of the characters in this charming story would like it to be. Meet Lucy; she’s an expert at pretty much everything from eating with a knife and spoon to gymnastics; she’s a pretty dab hand at painting and origami stars too.

%0a

In fact she seems to act as adviser on pretty much everything to all and sundry until, along comes Toshi. Now Toshi’s pretty confident in his eating and musical abilities; his moves are pretty cool too.

%0a

His art is awesome and it looks like he has a talent for paper folding. The only trouble is – for Lucy at least – his ways of doing are very different from hers; and THAT is what bothers her.

%0a

Eventually she can hold back no longer: “That’s NOT how you do it!” she yells at the newcomer as he completes this for her…

%0a

Now, it’s a case not of teaching but of learning where miss Lucy is concerned; she, it seems, has at last learned a vital lesson about understanding and celebrating difference. We all have so much to learn from one another.

%0a

That’s a lesson all children, and a good many adults too, need to take on board. It’s most definitely something teachers need to know as they start out, and to remember every time they present a new learning opportunity to a class or group. Such a hugely important message, so simply and charmingly delivered through the two delightful characters in this simple little story.