Not Just Another 123 / Not Just Another abc

Not Just Another 123
Not Just Another abc

illustrated by Jack Viant
Noodle Juice

All kinds of crazy shenanigans occur between the covers of these concept books; their creators clearly had both adult and child audiences in mind when they dreamed them up. Whether or not young children will understand the clever combinations of visual and verbal humour, I have yet to decide. However I certainly had a good laugh at for example, in 123 the chicken and egg conundrum, the flexible flamingos working on their yoga asanas

and the sheep endeavouring to emulate them and the not so elegant octopuses getting their tentacles in a twist as they do a repeat performance of the hokey cokey. After a tongue twister involving toucans, a representative of each animal group turns up on the final spread – a number line – to encourage little humans to count from one to ten.

The abc book uses three letters per spread (except for the y and z page), and the chosen words on each verso combined with the illustration on the recto, present a mini story as well as perhaps, a starting point for a longer tale co-created by adult and child. Facing the words ‘alligator before crocodile’ are two scaly creatures standing outside a door above which is the sign ‘Dr Smiles Dentist’ and via speech bubbles they discuss who should go in first. The possibilities are many here, but my favourite is this …

I suspect the dragon’s thought bubble will go way over the heads of young children though they can have great fun generating ideas as to what might happen next. The fairy is clutching a wand so maybe she can find a way to save herself …

Different parts of speech – adjective, verb, noun, preposition – comprise the word combinations used adding the possibility of an extra grammar lesson for older readers.

As the characters’ speech bubbles on the covers assert ‘Boredom-free guaranteed!’

The Pancake Champ / The Monster Who Was Scared of Soap

These are new additions to Bloomsbury Young Readers: thanks to Bloomsbury Education for sending them for review

The Pancake Champ
Joanna Nadin, illustrated by Ana Gómez

A new boy at school, Manjit has yet to make any special friends but then he works with Leon and they quickly become good friends. Then comes an invitation to tea from Leon’s dad and the panic begins. He frets about various possibilities, the worst being what he’ll be offered to eat. Nonetheless he agrees to go but then Leon’s dad says it’s pancakes for tea – it couldn’t be a worse prospect. But suppose you have the opportunity to join in the making and even choose the flavour, that might just make all the difference …

An amusing tale of friendship and facing your fears by author Joanna and illustrator Ana that will go down well with learner readers at home or in school.

The Monster Who was Scared of Soap
Amy Sparkes, illustrated by Jack Viant

A very funny tale of Gerald a little monster that hates the idea of a bath and whose mother goes to special lengths to get her little one to comply with her bath time regime. Gerald in response does his level best to get out of the annual watery, soapy situation, dashing out of the house to hide. Will the promise of a special secret surprise lure him to the bathroom and if so what will be the outcome? In Ana Gómez’s bright jolly illustrations Gerald’s mum bears remarkable resemblance to something your granny might have created as a bathroom accessory back in the day. With its surprise finale Amy Sparkes’ addition to Bloomsbury Young Readers series should definitely go down well with learner readers.

Both books have the usual tips for grown-ups and fun-time activities inside the front and back covers respectively.