Sand Between My Toes / Covered in Adventures

Sand Between My Toes
Caroline Cross and Jenny Duke
Child’s Play

The opening spread of this lovely book shows a little girl walking slightly behind the rest of her family as they arrive on the cliff above the beach. Immediately many adult readers will be transported back to their own childhood memories of such occasions when family seaside holidays and days beside the sea were the norm. What unfolds thereafter is the family enjoying a wealth of experiences: barefoot toe wriggling on the sandy shore, playing ball and splashing in the waves, 

discovering what’s in a rockpool, relishing a fast melting, dripping ice-cream (dog hot on the trail); there’s sandcastle constructing 

and some inevitable upsets too, as well as a sudden downpour. All ends happily with the entire family sitting together consuming chips beneath a shelter and then once the rain has stopped, wending their way back towards home beneath a gorgeously hued sky.
Caroline Cross’s spare poetic rhyming text allows plenty of space for Jenny Duke’s beautiful, almost dreamy scenes, as well as child audiences to fill in the gaps.

Covered in Adventures
Gillian Hibbs
Child’s Play

There are certain articles of clothing that we hang on to for years, unable to part with them for the memories they hold. One such is the old sweater belonging to young Sasha. Dad Greg’s comment in response to Dad Toby’s suggestion that she gets rid of said sweater is “ … at least let us wash it. Look how dirty it is!” Sasha disagrees: “It’s covered in adventures!” she asserts and together they begin to reminisce about some of what has happened to contribute to the garment’s appearance of having seen better days.

Yes, the sweater shows wear and mess from her imaginative journey on the high seas, from science experiments, 

cooking, camping, nature explorations, a game of soccer, some DIY to her go-kart and more, but all this is evidence of her many and varied adventures. 

It was even nibbled by a goat during a farm visit.
However, rather than despairing about her mucky sweater, Sasha’s supportive dads surprise her and at the same time she realises that actually it was herself rather than the sweater that made all those wonderful adventures happen. Moreover, she is now ready for some exciting new ones.

Gently humorous and uplifting, with Gillian Hibbs’ captivating illustrations this is a picture book for sharing at home or in the classroom.

Errol’s Garden

Errol’s Garden
Gillian Hibbs
Child’s Play

Urban tower-block-dwelling Errol loves to grow things; he knows he’s good at the job as his family starts running out of space in their cramped home. The green-fingered lad dreams of having a real garden to cultivate and one day discovers the perfect spot: a flat roof on top of the very block he lives in.

With the help of his Dad and small sister, he researches

and then enlists the help of all his friends and neighbours and together they draw up a plan.

Everyone has something to contribute …

and they each take on a different aspect of project garden until together they create a smashing green space that’s full of plants both edible and beautiful to look at.

What joy to be able to harvest produce from right there atop their very own place of residence

and to have a place that’s constantly changing and surprising them.

As well as a celebration of cultivating a community garden, this smashing story celebrates diversity and co-operation.
Errol is both enterprising and inspiring: a lad to emulate no matter whether you live in an urban, suburban or rural environment.

I am at present living in a house in the country with a huge garden, so I know the enormous pleasure of being able to consume home-grown produce – plums, apples, strawberries, beans, tomatoes and chard – to name just some of its bounties, for several months of the year. You can’t beat that and it’s what bursts forth from Gillian Hibbs’ super spreads.

Thoroughly recommended for families and classrooms.