Tag Archives: David Barrow

Early Years Storytime: Fergus Barnaby Goes on Holiday / There’s Unicorn in Town!

Fergus Barnaby Goes On Holiday
David Barrow
Hodder Children’s Books
Fergus Barnaby lives with his parents on the first floor of a block of flats. Their bags are packed

and they’re just about to set off on holiday when Fergus remembers he hasn’t got his bucket and spade. They’re still upstairs in Fred’s apartment, left here when they played together. Off he goes to the second floor to retrieve them.
As they start loading the car, Barnaby remembers his swimming goggles: those he retrieves from Emily Rose on the third floor and so it goes on – Barnaby seems to have loaned out half his possessions to friends – until finally everything is ready and off they go.
Surely there can’t be anything else left behind; or can there?
Despite his forgetfulness, or is it perhaps lack of possessiveness, Fergus is an endearing character and his flats have some distinctly unusual residents.

David Barrows’ funny, retro style illustrations for this, his debut picture book, are full of delightfully quirky details and young listeners will enjoy the supreme silliness of the finale.

There’s a Unicorn in Town!
Emma Pelling
Ragged Bears
Do you believe in unicorns? Some people do, some people don’t, but they make for a good yarn no matter what.
Rumour has it that there’s a unicorn in Brinton town: some of the residents even claim to have seen it. But then during the course of a week sightings are confirmed every day, so come Sunday, it’s time to draw up a find the unicorn action plan.
Justin the zookeeper is particularly keen to add a mystical creature to his collection of animals and young Cecily has designs on it as a pet.

The search is on, but all anybody can find are some sparkle dust and a few likely looking hoofprints and before long interest dwindles.
Only Cecily harbours a hope of seeing it again, a hope that is further kindled when, on her way to the park, she notices a rainbow flash …

Could it possibly be? …
A sweet story suffused with understated magic: just right for an early years story session.

I’ve signed the charter  

Troll Stroll

Troll Stroll
Elli Woollard and David Barrow
Nosy Crow
Having grown tired of an unrelenting diet of billy goat, the large lumbering troll in this tasty tale goes lumbering off in search of something different to tickle his palate. Off he heads through the town, stopping at the bridge – after all that’s where trolls hang out, isn’t it? Seems as though he’s about to strike lucky for what should come pedalling into view but a lad out for a spin. “Mmm” says the Troll. “There is nothing I like quite as much as a nice juicy boy on his bike.
The lad however, despite his relatively diminutive stature, shows a decided lack of fear.

Clearly he is familiar with the Three Billy Goats Gruff story for he responds thus: “Please don’t eat me just yet! There is something much better behind me, I bet!
Sure enough almost instantly, along comes an infinitely more tempting possibility.

And so it goes on, with first a school bus and then a digger full of mucky young passengers coming along to tempt the troll with even better, more substantial sounding treats.
Has the Troll finally met his match with that digger, or are those ‘scrumptious young morsels” aboard about to become his next tasty repast?

This is a lip-smacking offering from the toothsome new twosome, Woollard and Barrow. Elli Woollard’s rhyming text simply slips off the tongue – a veritable treat if ever; and David Barrow’s soft-focus, splodgy illustrations are deliciously diverting.

I’ve signed the charter  

Have You Seen Elephant?

DSCN5819 (800x600)

Have you seen Elephant?
David Barrow
Gecko Press
Ever thought of playing a game with an elephant? If you do, just make sure it’s not hide and seek …

DSCN5820 (800x600)

or if there’s no option then don’t let the elephant be first to hide. That’s the mistake the boy makes in this debut, corker of a book from David Barrow. It’s one of those stories where children are in the know almost from the outset and relish so being: they, like the boy’s dog can see all elephant’s hiding places and good as he insists he is, that elephant does choose some pretty ridiculous, albeit creative spots.

DSCN5821 (800x600)

But that’s the fun of it for audiences.
There is visual hilarity in abundance: in some ways elephant is rather like a toddler when it comes to hiding places – if he can’t see the seeker then he can’t be seen. But then that’s the way this book works: we all have to suspend our disbelief and play along with elephant just like one does with a toddler.
Barrow comically times his painted visuals to perfection: every spread is bang on in this respect, as is his use of light and shade. I love the somewhat restrained/muted colour palette with those orange,

DSCN5822 (800x600)

pink and purple hues.
Great family portrait endpapers – make sure you compare front and back. Make sure too that you keep your eye on what the dog’s up to; oh, and watch out for this character:

DSCN5823 (800x600)

he also has a special talent when it comes to games … so he says.
Love it, love it, love it! Assuredly a book to enjoy over and over (and with its minimal text), one beginning readers can, after an initial sharing, try for themselves.
I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing what’s next from this extremely talented newcomer who is incidentally, the winner of the Sebastian Walker Award for the most promising children’s illustrator 2015.

Use your local bookshop         localbookshops_NameImage-2