Ten Little Dogs / Ten Little Yoga Frogs

Ten Little Dogs
Ruth Brown
Scallywag Press

Who can fail to delight in this rhyming countdown by well-loved and respected author/illustrator Ruth Brown. Her array of pooches look such engaging creatures as they romp energetically in all kinds of settings indoors and out with their number diminishing on each double spread

until just one remains. But not for long because being alone is not nearly as much fun as dashing off to rejoin your nine friends cavorting and barking loudly in the park.

Yes there’s some simple maths herein but it’s the spirited illustrations that count for much of the pleasure to be discovered between the covers of this book. Every double spread is a visual feast with detailed, realistic images of adorable canines in beautiful surroundings, accompanied by a four line text with perfectly calculated page turns.
A treat for dog lovers of all ages, this.

Ten Little Yoga Frogs
Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley
Catch a Star

This is a fun way to engage in some counting practice while at the same time trying some basic yoga poses along with the snazzily attired yogi frogs.

Wearing both my foundation stage teacher hat and my yoga teacher hat simultaneously, I absolutely love this rhyming counting book. It’s great to see that not all the participants are experts at doing the poses: take a look at these three.

And who wouldn’t want to respond with a resounding yes to the invitation on the final spread …

With its predictable text and hilarious illustrations (each spread has a small box in the corner showing the specific yoga asana the frogs are doing) this book would make a smashing addition to any early years setting or foundation stage classroom, as well as being one to add to family collections where there are young children.

Board Book Fun Galore

Let’s Go! On a Tractor
Let’s Go! On a Train

Rosalyn Albert and Natalia Moore
Catch A Star

These two new titles in the Let’s Go! transport series offer further journeys of discovery for toddlers.

Told in Rosalyn Albert’s catchy rhyming story-telling narratives and Natalia Moore’s bright, lively scenes they’re just right to engage the very young.

The tractor driver in the first title takes readers around the farm introducing the farmer, crops, animals and their sounds, and some very squelchy mud – it’s all in a days work.

The train of the second book is an old-fashioned steam train – a very shiny one. We meet the driver and a ticket collector as the train wheels click clack through the countryside with the two young narrators relating the events of their long journey that lasts from morning to evening.

These sturdy books are just the right size for small hands to hold while they retell themselves the stories once an adult has shared them.

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! At the Fair
Gregory Goose is on the Loose! Up the Mountain

Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley
Catch A Star

Gregory Goose is on the loose again at new locations in two new catchy rhyming hide and seek adventures.

Gregory is an ace when it comes to hiding himself away in plain sight – even this adult reviewer had to search really hard a couple of times to locate him, so these books will certainly hone the observation skills of your little ones.

Whether you’re feeling in summery style or a snowy wintry mood, Mandy Stanley’s bright, captivating illustrations provide plenty to talk about on every spread, and what delight to discover the whereabouts of Gregory at every turn of the page.

Where’s Mrs Queen?
Ingela P Arrhenius
Nosy Crow

This addition to the deservedly popular. sturdy, felt flap series follows the same 5 spreads format with the final flap covering a surprise mirror – something that fascinates even babies just a few months old.

Here the location is London, and in the search for ‘Mrs Queen’ little ones will find a policeman, (I’d have preferred officer here), the driver of a double-decker bus, a soldier wearing a busby, said Queen in a carriage before they all assemble to ask ‘And where are you?’

With those attention grabbing, bright, retro style illustrations of Ingela Arrhenius, this board book is great of fun for the very youngest.

Board Book Fun

Making Tracks: Snow
Child’s Play

Whether it’s young Alyssa on her snowboard, a polar bear searching for food, Jian on her sled, a hungry robin looking for worms or the driver of a snowmobile, their actions make tracks in the otherwise pristine snow.

With die-cuts and flaps on every spread this is a lovely tactile board book for little fingers to explore as they respond to the question ‘Who is making tracks?’ at every page turn and enjoy the simple, brightly coloured images.

Gregory Goose in the Jungle
Gregory Goose on the Moon

Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley
Catch a Star

Gregory Goose is on the loose in two different locations, one earthly, the other lunar – eventually!
Before that, guided in the search by a series of questions presented by means of rhyming couplets, little ones can join in the hunt.

In the first book they’ll encounter elephants, lions, a host of hungry birds, hippos, snakes and zebras before they catch up with Gregory, unless of course they manage to spot him hiding in plain sight on every spread.

The second adventure sees the little goose donning his space boots and zooming around the galaxy before his game of hide-and-seek finally takes him to that place whereon he plants his flag before sharing in the welcoming spread.

Bright, jolly art from Mandy Stanley accompanies Hilary Robinson’s interactive narratives.

I particularly like the detail in his kit boxes that set the scene at the start of each story.

Let’s Go! On a Rocket
Let’s Go! On a Ferry

Rosalyn Albert and Natalie Moore
Catch a Star

Through Rosalyn Albert’s engaging rhyming texts and Natalie Moore’s bright alluring illustrations, toddlers can join the child adventurers in these two board books, becoming space explorers who entertain the possibility of meeting aliens in the first story, and passengers on a ferry ride whose captain takes them far out and fast, before bringing them safely back to the wharf.

In this new series, as well as enjoying the excursions, tinies will likely acquire some new vocabulary along with way.

Focus on Traditional Tales

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HONK! HONK! Hold Tight
Jessica Souhami
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Anyone with an interest in traditional tales will likely be familiar with versions of stories about a sad-faced princess who never so much as smiles being reduced to laughter when she sees a procession stuck to a goose or other magic object; or a king offering his daughter’s hand in marriage to any man who can make his sad daughter laugh. These elements are the basis of Jessica Souhami’s latest folk-tale style rendering of a traditional story that has variants in Russia, Egypt and various parts of Europe.
Here we meet po-faced princess, Alice and her despairing father who has announced that he’ll share his kingdom with whomsoever can make his daughter laugh. This news reaches a poor young fellow, Peter who then sets out to try his luck carrying only a loaf and a carafe of wine. These he gives to a hungry old woman on the way and she in return gives him a gold-feathered goose, a warning and some instructions.
Following her instructions to the letter results in an ever-growing procession of adherents

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as he journeys to the palace and the spectacle duly works its magic upon the doleful Alice. Her laughter breaks the ‘sticking’ spell and the delighted King keeps his bargain. And young Princess Alice? She gradually comes to appreciate the possibilities in a young man who can make her laugh and proposes, resulting in …


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Jessica Souhami sets her story in what looks like the early twentieth century from her jewel-bright, cut paper collage style illustrations. With its direct telling, and funny scenes, it’s sure to bring a smile to the faces of audiences young and not so young. It would also be great fun for children to act out – with or without puppets. Get that hooter ready …

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Favourite Mixed Up Fairy Tales
Hilary Robinson and Sarah Horne
Hodder Children’s Books
This is the third in the series of Mixed Up split page books and has a new illustrator, Sarah Monk. Herein readers meet all manner of characters large and small, good and not so good: The Pied Piper, The Little Mermaid, Pinocchio, Rapunzel, Tom Thumb, Rumpelstiltskin, The Gingerbread Man, Thumbelina, Hansel, The Wizard of Oz, Robin Hood, even the Frog Prince and can involve them in all manner of likely or unlikely adventures and encounters with lesser characters such as a wicked witch or a spotty toad. The possibilities are seemingly countless (I’m certainly not going to bother working out the possible number of permutations) and hours of playful fun are assured. One random opening resulted in:

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For those who enjoy being the co-creators of off beat scenarios, this will doubtless prove as popular as its predecessors.

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Gracie exploring the possibilities.

Sarah Horne’s zany, brightly coloured cartoon style images are full of fun and there are some particularly playful mini freeze frames such as that of the yellow brick road …

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that would make interesting starting points for further flights of fancy.

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