Board Book Extravaganza

Cat & Mouse
Britta Teckentrup
Prestel Publishing
There’s a surprise ending in store for listeners to this rhyming tale of a cat and mouse chase.

That though is getting ahead of the tale that begins with a warning to Little Mouse to hide inside the blue house. Through the door goes Little Mouse but the door is open wide so another furry creature enters too.
A chase ensues with Mouse running round and round eventually diving down a hole leaving the moggy pondering momentarily on his whereabouts and the little rodent in boastful mood.

Not for long however for the mouse soon exits the hole and the chase is on again.

A clever manoeuvre on Mouse’s part sees him outside under the moonlight without a hint of a cat. Not for long though for Mouse is being trailed around and about and back to the house that both creatures enter. But is all as it first appeared?

With its strategically placed die-cuts, minimalist illustrations and playful narrative this board book will amuse little ones who watch the lively events as they unfold towards the unexpected finale.

Hug Me Little Bear
Chronicle Books
Here’s a very cute little finger puppet book that, courtesy of a thoroughly endearing parent bear, little ones find out what arms can do. There’s a favourite song to dance together to; a gentle game of lift and catch; scrummy breakfast treats to cook up; a tummy tickle and best of all lots of ‘I love you’ hugs.

Full of sweetness and bound to bring on big smiles is this cuddlesome offering.

Little Plane
Taro Gomi
Chronicle Books
It’s take off time for Little Plane. He zooms skywards for an adventure one beautiful day. However his playful flight suddenly encounters some turbulence courtesy of the smoke pouring from the factory chimneys to which he gets a tad too close.
His landing attempts as he skims and tries to stop atop a tree and whizzes into a very muddy mountain aren’t a great success; and then it looks as though our intrepid friend is about to become engulfed within the huge open mouth of a building.

All ends happily though as Little Plane emerges safely, ready to fly off back home, looking even more shiny-bright than when he began his adventure. (A plane-wash perhaps?)

Little Plane is, like most little humans, learning by experience to cope with the ups and downs of life, and showing resilience in so doing.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site: Bulldozer’s Shapes
Sherri Duskey and Ethan Long
Chronicle Books

Get ready to shape up along with your little ones and their favourite construction vehicles, in particular big Bulldozer. Aided and abetted by Crane Truck he prepares the site for building. Along the way he shifts the rubble forming first a squiggle, then a ‘triangle’ (strictly speaking though it’s a cone), a circle, a diamond, a rectangle (kind of! But it’s more of a cuboid), a star, an oval and he finishes by squaring the plot off, nice and flat.

With Sherri Duskey’s rhyming couplets and Ethan Long’s digital art this little book will appeal to the many established fans of the series. I’d suggest reading it along with some small world construction toys and a set of both 2D and 3D shapes.

Pigs in a Blanket
Hans Wilhelm and Erica Salcedo
Chronicle Books

Before you  even open up the first page, you’ll be captivated by this charmer with the porcine trio fast asleep tucked cosily beneath the wrap-around blanket that stays in place courtesy of the strategically placed hidden magnet on the front cover.

We then follow the pigs as they wake up, playfully get dressed and style their hair before setting out for a run. The three also attend a ballet class, do a spot of baking, revel in some puddle jumping followed by a warm-up treat.

Goodness they do pack a lot into their day, as there’s still time for some theatrical fun before their bath, tooth-brushing and final clambering back into bed in their moonlit room.

Wilhem’s rhyming text coupled with Salcedo’s comical, energetic piggy scenes make for a fun-filled book that celebrates the simple delights of early childhood and is ideal for sharing with the very young, who are likely to recognise the piggies’ actions as akin to their own.

Wolfish Stew

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Wolfish Stew
Suzi Moore and Erica Salcedo
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
We all agree, wolves in stories are generally the baddies that get their just desserts, don’t we? Now you might just find yourself showing a little bit of sympathy for the particular wolf character in this treat of a tale, which certainly has a spicy final twist to it. Let’s get back to the start though with this:
There once was a rabbit/whose name was Grey. And he went to the woods/to pick berries one day.’
Now of course, where there are woods – and certainly in stories – there are also frequently, something else beginning with w and so too, is it in this instance. In fact here is one in particular, going by the name of Blue, a cunning, mean, sneaky creature with an enormous tail and a overwhelming desire for a special ingredient for his wolfish stew. No prizes for guessing what that might be …

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Hence all these warnings uttered to Grey as he makes his way on his foraging expedition through those woods …

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woods wherein lurks a pair of hairy, slightly nobbly knees, a massive appendage attached to a hairy posterior, wellie –shod feet and a very protruding snout. Hmm. Did I just see a knife and fork being brandished there too?

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It’s as well then that our little Grey pal is a wily creature with more than his fair share of tricks tucked in his fur – not to mention useful devices stashed in his burrow.

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Oh! What was that I just heard? Surely not Blue singing Grey’s song, was it? Yes it was.
Could it possibly be that, there’s a character even more ruthless than he residing in this particular story, one that’s been planning for an extra special ingredient to make his suppertime repast even more of a delicious concoction than usual? Now that would be telling, wouldn’t it.
What can be said however, is that this is destined to be wolfed down with delighted squeals of “More please!” and “Again, again!’ and that the rather dark wolfalicious outcome may not meet with everyone’s approval: it’s all a matter of taste.
Erica Salcedo’s utterly scrummy illustrations are brimming over with tasty tidbits and moreish humour, providing the perfect accompaniment to Suzi Moore’s.truly toothsome text.

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