Tag Archives: Chris Chatterton

Ten Minutes to Bed Little Unicorn

Ten Minutes to Bed Little Unicorn
Rhiannon Fielding and Chris Chatterton
Ladybird Books (Penguin Random House)

I must admit having seen it’s sparkly cover with that pink hued unicorn I didn’t want to like this book but having had children’s responses to it, and shared it one to one with several individuals, I’ve changed my mind.

Essentially it’s a tale about a spirited little unicorn named Twinkle who, like many young humans, does all she can to resist her dad’s “Ten minutes to bed!” warning.

Thus begins a countdown as the lively, far from tired unicorn, begins frisking through the forest, dancing and prancing, chasing the little creatures in the first three minutes and then she discovers a trail of footprints. Footprints that lead first to the sighting of a huge hairy troll,

then this being flashing across the sky, as well as the star.

Be honest, what would you do in that situation?

The problem is with four minutes left, Twinkle is, she realises, lost. There’s just one thing to do to get herself back in time, but will it work? Will she get home and if so, will she do so before the ten minutes expire? Remember, this is a magical story so …

With its rhyming text that reads aloud well, Rhiannon Fielding’s story works nicely as a bedtime tale, but equally as a shared read with a nursery group, or as an individual supported read for someone just gaining confidence as a reader of texts other than the boring schemes schools offer. Its predictable, patterned counting down nature and Chris Chatterton’s child-appealing, other worldly illustrations that also help when it comes to predicting the words coming next, contribute to its relative ease of reading. How magical is it for a six year old to be able to say, “I read that myself” like the little girl in the photo.

Alesha was over the moon to be  able to read this story herself.

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Don’t forget to explore the Land of Nod maps back and front, one is a daytime landscape,

the other shows the same panorama at night. There’s a great deal of potential in those alone for further exploration and perhaps 3D map making, especially if you happen to have a little toy unicorn.

Crash! Boom! A Maths Tale

Crash! Boom! A Maths Tale
Robie H. Harris and Chris Chatterton
Walker Books

Block play elephant style is pretty much the same as that of young children particularly when little Elephant has such a wonderful resource to use.

Kneeling on a carpeted floor our pachyderm starts stacking; his aim to build a tower the same height as he is (intention). How many more do I need he wonders (estimating) .

‘1 2 3 4’, he counts the precariously balanced blocks, then hurrah! – arms stretched out wide in celebration (self-expression and self-esteem).

Elephant stands beside the stacked blocks (comparing/measuring), but almost inevitably given the unstableness of his stack CRASH! BOOM! Disaster …

Elephant though is not one to give up so easily. “It has to be as tall as ME!” he reaffirms. (resilience and determination).
He stops and thinks about the placement of that first block …

before starting to build another tower, self-questioning as he goes until, 8 blocks high it’s “WHOOPEE!” Success! This time Elephant gives the tower a celebratory bottom bash sending his stack crashing.
He still isn’t finished though; it’s time to experiment with that very long block and those others he’s yet to play with … “What if” – imagining. (love that one)

until …

(testing hypotheses, problem-solving, spatial awareness, balance, concentration)

Harris introduces a multitude of maths concepts along with a host of other learning possibilities of block play.  Chatterton’s simple, uncluttered, but oh so telling, illustrations show not only Elephant’s learning but also his sheer joy in his experience.

Those, like myself who champion the activity – especially with the kind of equipment in Chris Chatterton’s photographic collages, will celebrate this book and want to show it to anybody who ever thought block play was mere messing around: they need to read it right away. It’s such a brilliant example of learning through play, made even better because the publishers let the story speak for itself.

After you share it with young humans (and any elephants that happen to be around), make sure you have a large set of wooden blocks available; they’re sure to be inspired.

Three Pirate Tales

There appears to be a plethora of pirate picture books at present: these three arrived in a single postal delivery:

The Treasure of Pirate Frank
Mal Peet, Elspeth Graham and Jez Tuya
Nosy Crow
Taking the rhythmic pattern of the nursery rhyme The House that Jack Built, the authors have woven a lovely lilting tale of a young boy set on discovering the hiding place of Pirate Frank’s treasure.
He has a map so show him the way, a trusty ship in which to sail,
To the island with spices and gold and tall mountains all snowy and cold,
On which is a forest with monkeys bold, and a swamp with lilypads topped with frogs.

He must beware of the volcano, spitting out fire,
As he ascends the steps going higher and higher;
then crosses the bridge to the tall palm tree; there to behold – my goodness me!
Who’s this standing atop that chest?

It seems there’s only one thing to do. What would that be if the boy was you?
Jez Tuya’s imaginative perspectives and creature crammed spreads are worth revisiting once the treasure has been found and the tale completed.

Pirates in the Supermarket
Timothy Knapman and Sarah Warburton
Scholastic Children’s Books
First there were Dinosaurs in the Supermarket; now the place is beset with pirates hell-bent on creating mischief and mayhem among the groceries as unsuspecting shoppers go about the task of filling their trolleys with goodies. They leave plenty of clues but nobody save one small boy is aware of the piles of rubble appearing in the aisles,

the cannon-wielding gang on the rampage, or the piratical accoutrements appearing around the store. Fortunately for all concerned just when it seems things might be getting somewhat out of hand, the aforementioned boy springs into action and before you can say, ‘shiver me timbers’ he has things under control – well and truly so methinks …

Which all goes to show that you need to keep your eyes wide open whenever you embark on a supermarket shop; you never know who might be lurking …
Fun, fast and full of crazy characters, oh and the odd observant one too.; and they’re all colourfully portrayed in Sarah Warburton’s comedic supermarket scenes. What more can a swashbuckling child ask?

Pete’s Magic Pants: Pirate Peril
Paddy Kempshall and Chris Chatterton
Egmont
Another pair of Pete’s snazzy magic pants come out of the suitcase for a wearing – pirate’s stripy ones in this instance – and before you can say ‘Avast’, with a wiggle and a wobble, the lad is off on the high seas aboard the Flying Fowl with Cap’n Ted and his trusty, clucking crew. They’re on the trail of Long John Silverside the most feared buccaneer on the high seas; he who has seized the treasure rightfully belonging, so we’re told to Cap’n Ted and his pals.
Can they escape the jaws of the sharks and the clutches of the soggy-suckered octopus, find their way to where the treasure is stashed and then get past the loutish-looking Long John himself?

Perhaps – with the help of Pete’s brain and the odd touch of brawn thereafter.
Fans of Pete’s previous adventure will welcome this second tale, which is pacey, pant-revealing and full of high drama and I suspect it will capture some new pants followers too.

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Piratical Dinosaurs and A Lost One

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Dinosaur Pirates!
Penny Dale
Nosy Crow
The dinosaur brigade return for their fifth adventure and they’ve become swashbuckling buccaneers on a secret journey to a distant island to unearth, with the help of their secret map, the buried treasure.

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And after a day’s hard work they find the chest and load it onto their ship but then along comes another ship: it’s the dastardly robbing raptors intent on seizing the treasure for themselves. A fearsome battle ensues with clashing, pushing – that’s the dinosaurs; and snapping – that’s the raptors, until eventually one of the ships starts to sink – that’s the raptors’; and they’re forced to abandon ship and leap for their lives.

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Do they survive? Who knows; but suffice it to say that the victors are thrilled to find their chest is full of shiny gold. Yo, ho, ho! A chest full of gold.
Fans of the ten versatile Dinosaurs will delight in their latest undertaking and the story should win them some new followers too. It provides plenty of opportunities for noisy joining in with the text and offers a super small world play starting point for early years children.

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Pete’s Magic Pants: The Lost Dinosaur
Paddy Kempshall and Chris Chatterton
Egmont
When Pete discovers a suitcase stored in an old wardrobe one day, he’s amazed to find it’s full of all sorts of magic pants and each pair possesses the power to transport him off on exciting adventures – once he’s put them on that is.

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The boy’s donning of a particularly hairy pair of pants results in him being pantsported into a forest where he comes upon first a chicken carrying a large club and a skateboard, and second, an egg out of which hatches a baby dinosaur.
It’s looks like a case of mistaken identity when this babe licks Pete on the nose and asks, “Dada?” Fortunately though, the small chicken declares himself a “good dinosaur finder” and the three set of in search of the real Dino Dada. It’s a search that results in some rather terrifying encounters

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until eventually after a seemingly exhaustive hunt, they stop to rest beside a ‘tree’ …

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My only quibble with this action-packed, seek and find tale is that young children might conclude that ‘caveman’ pants taking the protagonist into a forest wherein he discovers a dinosaur egg, means that dinosaurs and cavemen co-existed.

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Bear Washing and Bed Bouncing

DSCN7467Do Not Wash This Bear
Sam Hay and Nick East
Egmont Publishing
The particular Dad in this story – so the child narrator tells us – is a disaster area when it comes to doing the washing; titchy T-shirts, pink vests and disappearing socks being examples of the consequences. So, there is a kind of inevitability of mishap when he decides his son’s somewhat stinky ted is in need of a wash. “DO NOT WASH THIS BEAR’ states the label but Dad pays no heed and soon …

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What happens when the cycle finishes and Bear emerges is NOT good. Seemingly the creature has undergone something of a personality change. First there’s this:

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raspberry blowing Bear

And before long there are bubbles all over the bathroom and the bedroom’s full of snow.
Then, when Dad coming upstairs meets Bear bounding down, this is the result …

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Back comes Mum and, having stated the obvious, hangs the errant Bear on the line, which does the trick where mischief making is concerned.
Bear may be back to normal (albeit much cleaner), but …

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The crazy capers herein are sure to be appreciated by the young but equally this one will make the many adults who have had washing disasters, smile too. Nick East’s spirited illustrations capture the shenanigans beautifully and his characters – Bear and human – are charmers.

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There’s a Bison Bouncing on the Bed!
Paul Bright and Chris Chatterton
Little Tiger Press
There’s a big brown bison bouncing on the bed and its great fun, so much so that Aardvark, Chipmunk and Beetle join him. OOPS! All that bumping and thumping …

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will surely lead to one thing – and it does…

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Recriminations follow but oh my goodness! Seems there was someone else in that bed all along – that, or it’s moving on it’s own. Out comes Grizzly Bear and he certainly hasn’t got a smile on his face as he orders immediate repairs.

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But repairs are not the only things about which he issues instructions: there’s something else he wants the bouncers to do – once they’ve fixed the bed of course …
The combination of jaunty rhyming text and giggle-inducing scenes are certain to delight young bed bouncers especially (and that’s pretty much all young children.) My listeners were quick to join in with the rhyme and demanded an immediate re-read. Adult readers aloud – perhaps bedtime isn’t the best time to share this very lively story.

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Supermarket Gremlins

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Supermarket Gremlins
Adam & Charlotte Guillain and Chris Chatterton
Egmont Publishing
Be warned! You are about to enter the hitherto unknown world of supermarket gremlins and a pretty wacky one it is too. Seemingly, pretty much wherever you look as you wander the aisles in search of your favourite items, you’ll find evidence of their activities – misplaced bananas for example …

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and in many instances lifting the flaps will confirm your suspicions …

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Much of what they get up to is extremely mischievous and certain to give you a good giggle; but be sure to watch out for flying muffins if you venture into the bread section and unwittingly disturb the snoozers …
And what’s that nestling among those kiwi fruits? Oh! and there’s another in the apples …

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Just make sure that when you finally reach the checkout that none of the little varmints has stowed away in your bags – something they have a habit of doing and seemingly on this particular occasion, they seem to have a rather bigger plan afoot …

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Zany rhyming fun and madcap action-packed (not to mention gremlin-packed) spreads combine to ensure that this one will eventually be read to destruction (and that’ll take some doing). And that next time you visit the supermarket you’ll be constantly on the lookout not only for bargains but dare I say it, spaghetti wrapped around your trolley wheels courtesy of those GREMLINS …

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