It’s Only One!

It’s Only One!
Tracey Corderoy and Tony Neal
Little Tiger

This is a cautionary tale about what happens when people’s actions are thoughtless.

It’s set in Sunnyville, a fun, friendly and generally lovely place – until kind-hearted Mouse offers Rhino a toffee. Rhino tosses the wrapper away with the titular comment, but so do a host of other town residents, with one item landing hard on Tortoise’s head and leaving Giraffe outraged at the ever-growing rubbish heap.

To cheer himself up Giraffe picks a flower from the park with the same “What” It’s only one’ comment ,which of course it wasn’t.

Now it’s Penguin’s turn to feel anger, so to cheer himself up at the loss of all the flowers he turns to music – only one song of course but …

Can anyone or anything manage to curtail this catastrophic concatenation that’s caused the entire population of Sunnyville to become grumpy?

Perhaps Mouse has the perfect antidote – or at least the makings of one …

We all know only too well the terrible impact dropping rubbish has on the environment, wherever we live. And I’m sure we all want to be good neighbours – this is something that’s become all the more evident since the start of the pandemic – but it’s all too easy to slip into thoughtless actions such as tossing aside that odd car park ticket or receipt.

There are reminders from author, Tracey and illustrator, Tony at the end of their story, of the importance of considering how whatever we do might be impacting on others and their happiness. However, it’s the cast of characters (I love their zany portrayal in Tony’s expressive spreads) from this smashing and timely book that have the last word.

Share, ponder, discuss and most important, act upon this – it’s only one but think of its potential payoff.

The Lumberjack’s Beard

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The Lumberjack’s Beard
Duncan Beedie
Templar Publishing
Delivered with gentle humour, Duncan Beedle’s new picture book is an environmental fable. Herein we meet Jim – Big Jim Hickory, bristly-bearded, burly tree feller who (after his daily limbering-up, or should that be lumbering-up regime) …

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does what lumberjacks do; he takes his axe, heads to the forest and destroys trees.
This activity, he subsequently learns, spells disaster for the forest-dwelling animals: the bird no longer has her new nest, the pine needles and leaves for porcupine’s shelter have gone up in smoke and moving those tree trunks down the river has deprived beaver of his new dam.
Furthermore the alternative accommodation Jim’s providing for these creatures is becoming more than a little troublesome to him.
Time for some felling of a different kind decides our hirsute lumberjack …

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which of course leaves its residents homeless once more. Another idea is needed, Jim – a better one this time. And here he goes …

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The domestic scenes of Jim and his tenants are hilarious and Beedle renders his superb landscapes in appropriately earthy hues –

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as the impact of deforestation is introduced to the very young. The message assuredly packs a powerful punch.

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There’s just SO much to think about and discuss with foundation stage and KS1 audiences. This one’s an absolute ‘must have’ for classrooms as well as individual sharing.

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Tidy

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Tidy
Emily Gravett
Two Hoots
Meet Pete – an unlikely name for one of his kind. This forest dweller is a tidiness fanatic: he detangles fox’s fur, grooms all the birds, sweeps, vacuums …

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and even polishes the rocks. Autumn is a particularly trying time for our badger friend.

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But our zealous leaf sweeper-upper hits upon what looks like the perfect solution to the ‘bare and scrappy’ trees he’s left with.

 

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But then, down comes the rain which becomes a flood with its inevitable aftermath …

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I don’t think those particular tools are going to cut it Pete!
No matter: here comes another of those practically perfect solutions …

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How though is Pete to satisfy his longing for a well-deserved treat, let alone get into his sett? …

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Time for a spot of hunger-induced thinking I suggest, and come morning operation restoration is in full force …

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With its gift-to-the-reader-aloud, rhyming text and an abundance of visual humour, Emily Gravett’s latest offering is an example par excellence of how such vital themes as the importance of forests and the dangers of deforestation can be delivered without the tiniest bit of preachiness creeping in. What we have here is a wonderfully funny cautionary tale of the environmental kind, that is bound to delight young listeners and those who share it with them equally.
There is so much to discuss, and to see in the details of the scenes …

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(including the gorgeous panoramic cover and lovely endpapers) you’ll need several readings to begin to do justice to this one.

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The Orange House

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The Orange House
Nahid Kazemi
Tiny Owl Publishing
Down at the end of the alley lined by tall buildings Sky, Star, Sea and Moonlight, stands the Orange House and Orange is far from happy. The reason being she is the only remaining old house, and while the other buildings all watch and comment on the nearby, as yet nameless new building,

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single storeyed Orange House stays silent. She doesn’t have a lift, nor amazing plumbing or even beautiful bricks or windows as the others have commented. Puzzled by her continued silence,

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Turquoise, the first of the more recent buildings, continues speaking, recalling when like Orange, other houses in the alley had gardens with trees, ponds, birds and fish. The rest join the conversation, reminiscing about the lost beauty and gradually realising the impact they themselves have had on the locality, Turquoise commenting on the quality of the air (cleaner and easier to breathe back then).
Suddenly Orange notices workmen approaching with picks and shovels; but then so do the others. Deciding it’s time to make a stand against further development, the tall buildings form a barricade around the Orange House making her invisible to those would-be destructive humans who give up their search and walk away.

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And thus stands Orange House, smiling and happy surrounded by her new friends and protectors.
This is a powerful fable of our time, when thoughtless, money-grabbing developers are often too ready to knock down buildings and destroy open spaces in the name of progress.
With its naive perspectives, Nahid Kazemi’s quirky, offbeat illustrative style delivers the message with a punchy panache.

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A River

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A River
Marc Martin
Templar Publishing
This beautiful book comes from award-winning Marc Martin and begins in a child’s bedroom from where we are taken on a journey– real or imagined? – in a silver boat, down a river as it winds on its long journey through high rise city with its ant-like zooming cars and smoke-belching factories, meandering past farms with a patchwork of fields …

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into hills and alleys rich and green, cascading down a waterfall;

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then, watched by dozens of eyes, through lush tropical forests alive with birds and animals, past mangroves and on to the ocean smelling of salt and seaweed

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where a storm is gathering strength … and then returning to the bedroom once more, there in the gloom are those same pictures and objects that inspired the whole journey.
This journey is more than merely a visual one; truly it’s one that engages all the senses as we smell and taste that belching smoke …

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hear the running water as it murmurs along and then cascades down a waterfall, listen to the bird and animal sounds of the jungle,

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feel those watching eyes in the dark jungly depths …

 

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and of course, every spread is an arresting feast for the eyes.
Make sure too, to look for the tiny sailboat itself with its adventurous navigator as it charts its course through all those amazing landscapes so richly hued and textured. See how many animals you can notice dotted throughout the pages: look closely and be captivated. You’ll be reluctant to rejoin that child as she returns to the bedroom where raindrops pelt against the windowpane and a soft light shines, perhaps calling her forth once more. I certainly was.
When you do though, pay careful attention to those inspirational endpapers.
This truly is a book rich with potential for inspiring children’s creativity, for environmental and geographical discussions and more. First though let it be enjoyed and savoured for its aesthetic riches both visual and verbal.

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