Beware! Ralfy Rabbit and the Secret Book Biter

Beware! Ralfy Rabbit and the Secret Book Biter
Emily MacKenzie
Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Bibliophile, young Ralfy Rabbit loves nothing better than to find a peaceful place to snuggle up with a good book (or several).

However things have changed in Ralfy’s home: there’s a new addition to the family, baby brother Rodney, whose presence means that the household is anything but quiet, and the bigger baby Rodney gets, the more noise he makes.

The impossibility of finding a quiet spot at home drives Ralfy to one of his favourite places – the library. Bliss. Peace at last.

But when Ralfy settles down with his book he gets the surprise of his life. A very large hole has been chomped right through it.

Fortunately the librarian is sympathetic but suggests Ralfy should try to track down the book biter.

Back home Ralfy dons his detective gear and starts his investigation. It can’t have been any of the grown-ups for they’ve all been too busy. It surely can’t be Nibbles – he belongs elsewhere.

Ralfy moves to the bookcase where, OH NO! the book biter has been at work on another of his books. In fact not just one, but all Ralfy’s favourities – disaster!

Then he hears some strange sounds coming from the direction of another large volume …

Finally it seems Ralfy has caught the culprit. But what does he do about it? That would be telling …

As with her previous Ralfy story, Emily’s illustrations are fabulous– witty and full of amusing details. She’s clearly had some punning fun playing with book titles. Ralfy’s collection includes Stick Bun and on the library shelves are Rabbitson Crusoe, Jane Hare, Pippi Longears and The Burrowers, which will be appreciated by older book enthusiasts sharing the story.

With Ralfy’s visits to both the library and a bookshop, this is sure to become another favourite with adults who want to encourage book loving in little humans, as well as the target audience of young listeners.

Eric Makes a Splash

Eric Makes a Splash
Emily Mackenzie
Bloomsbury Children’s Books

When it comes to trying new things, Eric is a real worrier. His best friend Flora on the other hand is virtually fearless and loves to help Eric to feel as brave as she does.
She helps him with his fear of getting his wellies dirty; with his worries about trying a new sandwich filling, and comes to his assistance on the tall climbing frame.

When Eric receives an invitation to a swimming party his mind is a whirl of worries: supposing his fur got wet or water went in his eyes; but even worse, what if he sank to the bottom of the pool?

Flora thinks the purchase of new swimming togs might allay his fears but even with his new attire, Eric worries.

Eventually though he’s suitably prepared and off they go to ‘Soggy Towel Swimming Pool’.

Soon all Eric’s friends are having a wonderful time splashing around but Eric is reluctant even to get his toes wet.

Thank goodness Flora is soon by his side offering some timely words of encouragement and finally one very proud panda is in the water…

That isn’t quite the end of the story though. A mishap on the diving board precipitates a disastrous chain of events:

Eric is left without any support other than that supplied by the water itself, and is about to make some very surprising discoveries …
As always, Emily Mackenzie’s illustrations are full of fun and feelings. Her two main characters are totally endearing and complement each other perfectly. We could all do with a Flora in our lives when we’re about to make a somewhat scary leap into the unknown.

There’s Broccoli in my Ice Cream!

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There’s Broccoli in my Ice Cream!
Emily MacKenzie
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Now here’s a mouth-watering treat and a deliciously funny one, to tickle the taste buds of fussy eaters and foodies young and not so young, from author/illustrator, Emily MacKenzie.
Young dalmation, Granville’s loathing of all things green and crunchy, yellow and mushy and red and squashy hugely disappoints his family of greengrocers and gardeners. So much so that they’re determined to find a foolproof ploy to turn his predilection for puddings, pastry and ‘chocky wocky gooey things’ to a passion for parsnips and broccoli. A plan is hatched …

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Action stations … and it seems to be working.

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Granville however, has a plan of his own and it’s one that – ultimately – yields some surprising, and satisfying, results …
Emily Mackenzie’s characters are always of the delightfully wacky and decidedly distinctive kind. There was book burglar Ralfy Rabbit, Stanley, the amazing knitting cat and now in veggie-hating Granville, we have another who is equally appealing; his Grandpa Reggie is a delight too.

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Further servings are certain to be the order of the day after an initial sampling of this delectable offering. My audience certainly relished it.

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Cat Capers

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Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat
Emily MacKenzie
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
In this follow-up to her splendid book-stealing Ralfy Rabbit, Emily MacKenzie provides another furry character with an unlikely preoccupation: marmalade cat Stanley is a fanatical knitter. He hones his craft not in chasing mice or dogs but in flexing his paws and clicking his needles to create all manner of wonderful objects: those pompoms are pretty cool (or should that be warm?), the bathtime bobble hats, ditto and then there are those tail cosies conjured up at the supermarket.

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Stanley’s pals were the lucky recipients of his craftsmanship: the balaclava-sporting bunnies looked wonderful, as did all the other woolly wearing animals.

 

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Until the day Stanley spots a poster …

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From then on, all Stanley’s energy, not to mention wool is focused on a single enterprise and nothing can stop him till – uh no! has Stanley come to the end of his chances of winning?

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But even that doesn’t stop the determined moggie as he embarks – to his friends’ chagrin, on operation unravel …

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When the day of the competition dawns, Stanley’s pals gather (sans woolies) at the venue but where is the great competitor himself? Seemingly he has thoughts other than victory on his mind after all;

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but in his efforts to make recompense to his friends, have Stanley’s prize-winning plans unravelled altogether, or does he still have a chance at the grand prize?
To discover the answer, you’ll have to get your mitts on a copy of this wacky, winning tale.

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Double Dave
Sue Hendra and Lee Wildish
Hodder Children’s Books
Rotund moggie Dave returns in another crazy tale and this time he has something of an identity crisis: who, or what is this Dave-like creature that’s sleeping in his bed and consuming his meals?

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And moreover, trying to take his friends .

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There’s only one thing for the indomitable Dave to do: unmask the imposter and prove himself worthy of the name Dave. That however seems to be somewhat more difficult than he (and Bug) have anticipated; but in the end, the proof of the pudding is in the eating or should that be its gaseous after effects …

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Doubtless Dave will please his already established fans, and gain a few new ones too, with this comical windy caper.

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Ralfy Rabbit & Construction: Libraries for All

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WANTED! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar
Emily MacKenzie
Bloomsbury Children’s Books pbk
Meet bibliophile Ralfy rabbit, maker of book lists– those he’s read (with carrot ratings ascribed), those he wants to read and those to recommend to friends and family. Ralfy would go to any lengths to get his paws on a good book. He’d even take them from people’s homes

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and large gaps began to appear on the shelves of one small boy Arthur. Arthur too was a book lover and when he discovers the absence of his favourite monster book he decides something has to be done to apprehend the thief. Time to put in a call to the local constabulary he decides, having been laughed at by his mum and chastised by his teacher. Even the police don’t take him seriously though, not until Ralfy tries stealing a book from PC Puddle that is.
Ralfy finds himself in a line-up but it’s pretty difficult to tell one bunny from another when they’re all wearing book lovers T-shirts; Arthur is certainly bemused. But then PC Puddle starts up a conveyor belt …

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That’s not quite the end of the tale though: Arthur knows just the place for someone with an insatiable appetite for books, a place where he must make sure to take the books back for others to enjoy.
This engaging book is an unashamed plug for libraries and an amusing read to boot. I love the alliterative list of Ralfy’s book-pilfering crimes and the book lists Ralfy himself makes (these will be appreciated by adults but most will go over the heads of young children; they will be amused by the carrot ratings).
The illustrations are great too – packed with humorous touches and of course, there are plenty of books in evidence. The conveyor belt scene is terrific, as is one of Arthur’s bookshelves complete with snails and slugs

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and I love the night spotlight of Ralfy returning home with his swag bag almost bursting at the seams with his latest haul.
If you share this with a class of KS1 children, make sure they see the poster on the book’s back cover. They could have fun making their own WANTED posters for Ralfy, or perhaps a poster promoting their local library (if they are lucky enough to have one still).

Building a new library, now that really is something to celebrate and it’s exactly what we see happening in

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Construction
Sally Sutton and Brian Lovelock
Walker Books
Big machines move onto the site digging, filling, concreting, hoisting wood – Thonk! CLONK CLAP! Then sawing, measuring, hammering as the stairs, floors and walls are erected. Next come the roof, doors and windows with a Heave-ho! followed by pipes and power wires and finally a couple of coats of paint. At last it’s time to bring in the furniture and most important of all come the books – lots and lots of lovely books all waiting to be borrowed. Ready … STEADY… READ! Hip! Hip! Hooray!
Sally Sutton’s energetically rhythmic text simply throbs along in patterned form – action and then onomatopoeic words: ‘Fill the holes. Fill the holes. … Spread it fast before it sets. Sloosh! SLOSH! SLOP!’

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and ‘Build the frame. Build the frame. … Bing! BANG! BONG!

 

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(Great for audience participation this.)
It’s good to see both male and female workers on Lovelock’s construction site with some of the latter clearly directing the operation in places.

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His changing perspectives allow the audience a variety of views from beneath the action to looking down upon it, at some distance or right in close.

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The final page provides brief explanations of the machines usage and shows the safety gear of a site worker. What more can little builders as well as readers ask?

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Don’t forget February 14th:ibgdposterlarge