Ready Rabbit?

Ready Rabbit?
Fiona Roberton
Hodder Children’s Books

Why is Rabbit hiding away inside a big box instead of getting ready to go to the party?

Seemingly the poor little creature is anything but keen on going; in fact he’s flatly refusing.

What’s needed is some gentle mind-changing persuasion and reassurance with regard to loud noise, the possibility of strange beasties lurking, as well as that no meanies will be present.

Best to focus on the exciting things that will be part and parcel of the party; things like friends,

yummy cake, games, dancing, balloons, presents and most important Rabbit’s favourite food.

Mind changed, now little Rabbit just needs to decide on what to wear and then outfit chosen,

off he goes.
The party proves to be all his encouraging adult (off scene) promised but now it appears that there’s another guest in need of a bit of encouragement …

Beautifully observed and portrayed, Fiona’s sweet story is delightful. It should go a long way towards showing anxious little ones how their big worries can disappear if like Rabbit, they practice positive thinking.

A winner for sure in every way.

Swapsies / Say Sorry, Sidney!

Swapsies
Fiona Roberton
Hodder Children’s Books

There’s a delightful lesson in the importance of friendship and learning to share in this latest book from talented author/illustrator Fiona Roberton whose books have all been winners with me.
Fang has a favourite toy, an amazing yellow, stripey, squeezy, thing with an aroma of bananas; he loves Sock more than anything else.
Enter Philip with his magnificent shiny red train, which looks a whole lot more exciting than Sock. Being a good sharer, Philip agrees to a swap.

A similar thing happens with the bouncy toy belonging to Simon. But then disaster strikes …

and Fang is left toyless and missing his old favourite.
Is he to be without his beloved Sock forever more or is there perhaps a way they can be re-united.
Fiona’s characters are adorable; her dialogue superb: “What happened to Ball?” asked Simon. “Ball is no longer with us,” says Fang; and the finale (which I won’t divulge) leaves room for the children’s imaginations to take over and draw their own conclusions.

Say Sorry, Sidney!
Caryl Hart and Sarah Horne
Hodder Children’s Books

Resident of the zoo, rhino Sidney feels lonely so he decides to make a break for it and heads for the farm.
Once there, the creature starts helping himself to anything and everything that takes his fancy. First he scoffs Mr Potts lunch, then ruins all the washing on Aunt Ann’s clothes line. How wonderfully affronted she looks …

Not content with that he destroys young Emily’s den and smashes all her favourite toys. Even worse, despite their protests of innocence, everyone blames their loss on whichever farm animal happens to be on the scene at the time.
Rhino? What Rhino? / That cannot be true. / There’s only one rhino / and he’s in the zoo.” Is what the accusers all say to the accused.
Come the evening, those farm animals have had enough; time to confront that rhino and teach him a lesson they decide.

Will Sidney finally see the error of his ways, learn some manners and become a valued member of the farm community, or will it be back to the zoo for him?
With its join-in-able repeat refrain, the jaunty rhyme bounces along nicely and Sarah Horne’s wonderfully quirky characters, both animal and human, are quite splendid.

A Tale of Two Beasts & Dangerous!

beast 1

A Tale of Two Beasts
Fiona Roberton
Hodder Children’s Books
There are two sides to every story and then there is the truth reads the sign at the start of this book, a book that has two parts and two narrators. A little girl is first to present her view point, telling how when walking in the deep dark woods, she comes upon a small creature ‘stuck up a tree, and whining sadly…’ A rescue is effected,

beast 2

the creature becomes Fang and is duly wrapped up in her scarf, taken home to be cleaned, bathed, fed and rehoused. We hear how the little girl takes her new ‘pet’ for walks and to meet her school friends. Despite all the loving care she lavishes upon the little beast, he’s  still far from happy. Fearing he is sickening, she opens a window and the beast makes his escape, temporarily at least. For at bedtime there he is again looking more cheerful

beast 3

and …

beast 4

In part two ‘The Terrible Beast’ we hear the animal’s version of what happened beginning “I was hanging from my favourite tree, singing happily to the birds when …”. An ambush occurs and the creature is subjected to all manner of terrible things

beast 6

before making his escape, only to return  later to retrieve something he has left behind and … beast 8

I’ve loved everything Fiona Roberton has done so far but I love this one even more. There’s so much to engage both eyes and ears here. The story is cleverly constructed and both the main characters and the illustrations, enchanting. I particularly like the way we are given a variety of double spread and full-page scenes and small vignettes.

beast 13

Dangerous!
Tim Warnes
Little Tiger Press pbk
Mole has something of an obsession – labelling things, not just with their names but much more besides.

beast 11

(Teachers, there are opportunities galore in this book.) One day while out with pencil and paper at the ready, he comes upon something strange and of course, our compulsive labeller just has to investigate. Before long the creature is plastered with descriptive labels, but despite them all, no name.

beast 12

Then the enormous, lumpy-bumpy thing gives a huge yawn which Mole assumes means he’s about to be eaten and beats a hasty retreat. But all the huge creature does is roll over and is soon snoring once more. Mole decides warning labels must be affixed to the sleeper and is about to add DANGEROUS when the thing awakes and flashing its teeth, proceeds to consume each and every label. Needless to say, Mole is not happy and off he goes in a huff but the creature is hot on his heels and making adoring overtures,

beast 10

in between consuming more labels that is. Finally Mole loses it completely, hurling insults at the ‘THING” and causing it to shed a monstrous tear. Mole is penitent: time for another label?
However, it’s the Thing that is first with a label of his own and before long, Mole has made amends …

beast 9

Terrific fun. Mole is a delight and, there are two pages of stickers to use for labeling. The whole thing is an absolute gold mine for teachers of 4s to 7s.
What about encouraging children to create their own ‘’Thing’ in two or three dimensions and passing it on to a partner who can then write labels for it. Or, a whole class or group could work together on a large-scale model/labeling project. The possibilities are endless with this one.
Use your local bookshop localbookshops_NameImage-2

Don’t forget February 14thibgdposterlarge