Information and More Board Book Style

Zoom: Building Site Adventure
Susan Hayes, illustrated by Susanna Rumiz
Zoom: Farm Adventure
Susan Hayes, illustrated by Aviel Basil
What on Earth Books

With their strategically placed die-cuts and cutaway pages, a final pop-up scene, a simple narrative and a wealth of relevant labelled objects, these are two additions to the Zoom series for toddlers.

In the first Maxie, clad in his safety gear, spends a day on the building site where the construction of a sky-scraper is under way. Little ones will see a wealth of machines that drill, dig, scoop, move materials, mix concrete, lift heavy items and get rid of unwanted debris.
Humorous moments occur when Maxie forgets to check all the pipe connections before turning in the water – oops! All ends satisfactorily though with a building ready for visitors.

In the Farm Adventure we join Bo as he drives his shiny red truck from his city home to the farm. Once there he is greeted by the animals and then he gets on with various tasks: he milks the cows, feeds the sheep, goats and alapacas, then gathers eggs from the hens – all before breakfast. Next he collects honey from the bees, harvests fruit and vegetables, and brings in the corn and wheat that he delivers to the barn. Phew! After all this it’s time for a snack before starting the peanut harvest. The mischievous duck that accompanies him will give little ones something to giggle over as will the fact that the goats escape from their field and have to be rounded up before Bo leaves.

Both books begin and end in the children’s own rooms and young listeners will realise that therein are many of the components of the imaginary adventures.

Race to the Rescue!
Georgina Deutsch and Olivier Latyk
Little Tiger Press

Emergency vehicles driven by animal crews take centre stage in this ‘flashing lights’ , rhyming board book. Toddlers will meet police mice chasing a robber; a hippo helicopter air rescue crew; Dog and his partner assist a swimmer in trouble out at sea, the Pandas in their ambulance rush to the aid of Danny Dog; and finally, a cat stuck in a tree is rescued by Fox and his fire engine team – all in a day’s work. Providing plenty to look at, Olivier Llatyk’s bright illustrations take toddlers right up close to the action for each event,

How It Works: The Body
Amelia Hepworth and David Semple
Little Tiger Press

With its cleverly layered die-cuts this look at the human body, both outside and inside, curated by Doctor Mouse, contains much more information than your average board book. Said mouse however doesn’t supply the main text: that’s provided by Amelia Hepworth; rather he provides additional facts mentioning such things as the sign for ‘hello’ on the Super Senses spread, explains the importance of practise in muscle memory, that the small intestine is something of a misnomer on account of its length and much more. Meanwhile the main text takes us through the various components of the body – muscles, organs and skeletal structure; and David Semple’s labelled illustrations show the details.

A nursery group or preschool child will find plenty to interest and talk about in this one.

Along Came a Fox/ The Rug Bear

Along Came A Fox
Georgina Deutsch and Cally Johnson-Isaacs
Little Tiger

Bramble the fox decides to go hunting fireflies one silvery moonlit night, despite not knowing where the tiny insects like to hide.
Having been disturbed from her slumbers hedgehog Hazel, decides to accompany Bramble and they follow all-knowing Twig the owl’s advice to search near the lake.

En route Hazel is a little bit spooked by the shadows but Bramble urges her to hurry. “Because foxes don’t get scared … do they?”
Well maybe they do sometimes …

A bit of stomping and growling on account of the “VERY RUDE FOX!’ ensues;

 

then Bramble decides to go back and report to Twig.
Twig suggests they all return to the lake and try to discover what might have upset the unfriendly fox.

Back they go, but without the moonlight glowing over the pond there is nothing to see at first, which saddens Bramble who’d hoped to make amends.

But then out comes the moon from behind the clouds revealing something wonderful in the water …

And yes they do eventually see those fireflies too. It’s a wonderful night, after all.

This all goes to show that the face we put out in the world, is reflected back; in other words – to borrow the lines from Larry Shay et al. “When you’re smiling / The whole world smiles with you”.

With absolutely gorgeous illustrations and appealing characters, this book has an important message; it’s one to share and talk about with young listeners.

The Rug Bear
Emma Rattray, illustrated by Michael Terry
Matador Children’s

Emma Rattray’s rhyming story tells what happens when a bear, playing hide and seek with Lion and Fox, finds a suitable hiding place and promptly lies down falling deeply asleep.

Along comes a weary mouse. She’s most happy to find a ‘brown furry rug’ just when she’s in need of a pace to rest. So too is Hare with his heavy load;

and Squirrel on his branch is pleased to find he has a soft landing spot exactly where he intends to jump. The ‘’rug’ also tempts lonely ladybug; she deems it ‘extremely snug’.

Suddenly Bee buzzes by following a honey smell and the noise awakens Bear from his slumbers. He jiggles and wiggles, yawns and gives an enormous stretch and stands …

cascading the seated creatures to the ground.

Imagine their feelings when they discover the true nature of their rug. Fortunately, all ends happily – thanks to hospitality in the shape of cups of tea. – sweetened with honey perhaps …

Debut picture book author, Emma Rattray’s warm-hearted tale of inclusion and friendship makes a highly enjoyable read aloud for home or foundation stage setting: youngsters will love being in the know about the ‘rug’ and enjoy joining in the repeat parts of the narrative. Equally, they’ll love Michael Terry’s humorous, splendidly expressive scenes of the unfolding rug episode.