Mrs Noah’s Garden

Mrs Noah’s Garden
Jackie Morris and James Mayhew
Otter-Barry Books

The terrific team that is Jackie Morris and James Mayhew have created a sequel to Mrs Noah’s Pockets that moves forward in time with the Noahs now safely aground high on a hill where Mr Noah is hard at work fashioning a home from their enormous ark.

Mrs Noah meanwhile is missing her garden and as the story opens has just found a place to start creating a new one.

She enlists the children’s help, first in building walls and terraces on the hillside and then in planting. For not only had the ark carried animals two by two but also all manner of plants – bushes, bulbs, trees and shrubs. And in those deep pockets of hers Mrs Noah had even thought to stow away seeds.

With the planting done, she sets about creating a beautiful willow bower complete with gorgeously scented honeysuckle and jasmine. The children are expecting the seeds they’d help sow to start bursting through the warm earth right away, so Mrs Noah pauses to explain that germination takes a while.

After a day hard at work outside Mrs Noah has more to do, this time with fabric; what can she be making? Mr Noah thinks he knows.

Time passes and the garden thrives becoming alive with both flora and fauna till Midsummer morning arrives. Now nature’s own magic has truly done its work

and there’s a very special surprise awaiting Mr Noah when he follows the children outside. What could it be?

With themes of fresh beginnings, nature’s bounties and enjoying the safety of one’s abode and its surroundings, (and there’s new life too), Jackie Morris’ beautifully crafted fable has a magical feel to it.

Alive with magic too, are James Mayhew’s fantastical illustrations. Using a mix of collage, paint and print techniques he makes many of them absolutely dance on the page. At other times, the richly textured images and colour palette conjure a feeling of peace and tranquillity as in this Midsummer’s Eve scene.

The Secret of the Tattered Shoes

The Secret of the Tattered Shoes
Jackie Morris and Ehsan Abdollahi
Tiny Owl

The latest addition to Tiny Owl’s ‘One Story, Many Voices’ is a rather different interpretation of the Brothers Grimm tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
Here the princesses are still locked up each night, and their dancing shoes are still worn down each morning.

However, having met a beautiful woman in the forest

and learned of the princesses, the strong handsome soldier who takes it upon himself to accept the king’s challenge to discover their secret, is weary of life.

Unlike those who have gone before he has a different ending in mind from that offered by the princesses’ father.

Jackie Morris’s text is poetic: ‘The soldier followed, out from the twisting tunnel of steps to an avenue of trees lit by curious starlight. The leaves shone with silver as if painted by moonlight’.
It’s also rather dark: it’s certainly not marriage to one of the king’s daughters – the happily ever after ending of the Grimm version that this soldier seeks. Nevertheless although readers are left to decide for themselves what happens to him, we’re left with a hope that the soldier finds that which he goes in search of after leaving the royal gathering.

Ehsan Abdollahi’s collage illustrations are absolutely right for Jackie Morris’s rendition: from endpaper to endpaper, with puppet-like figures, they’re exquisitely detailed, infused with melancholy and mystery, and reminded me rather of medieval tapestries.

Can You See a Little Bear?

Can You See a Little Bear?
James Mayhew and Jackie Morris
Otter-Barry Books

Stunningly beautiful illustrations by Jackie Morris accompany James Mayhew’s sequence of rhyming statements relating to a variety of animals and a question ‘Can you see a little bear …?’ as we accompany the young polar bear on a fantasy journey.

It takes us through a medieval landscape during which he encounters hot air balloons, entertainers of various kinds, a camel train and a host of exotic creatures including an elephant, musical mice, parrots, peacocks, a walrus, zebras and a whale, beautiful moths, foxes, dolphins and geese.

Little bear engages in activities such as balancing on a ball, and head standing; he tries on items of the performers’ attire

and even participates in a performance.

Then, towards the end of the book into the array comes a big bear carrying a light to guide the little one homewards

for a bath, some tea and then, as he’s drifting into slumbers, bed.

The patterned text and questioning nature of the rhyme serves to draw the listener’s focus into the spectacular scenes, gently guiding attention towards the little bear’s named activity among the wealth of gorgeous detail on each spread. For example ‘Parrots can be green / and parrots can be red, / Can you see a little bear standing on his head?’

Full of mystery and magic and along the way introducing colours, opposites and contrasts: this book was first published over a decade ago. If you missed it then I urge you to get hold of a copy now: it’s sheer, out of this world bedtime enchantment for both child and adult sharer.

Mrs Noah’s Pockets

Mrs Noah’s Pockets
Jackie Morris and James Mayhew
Otter-Barry Books

This totally fresh and original take on the Noah’s Ark story is an absolute bobby-dazzler and what an inspired author/artist pairing.
Jackie Morris’ s powerful prose is honed to perfection so that not a single word is superfluous: here’s a taste:
This rain came from a sky
dark as a bruise,
falling hard and fast,
beating the earth,
washing down tracks,
making streams of pathways
and rivers of roads.

I love that Mrs Noah is portrayed as a subversive character who, instead of snipping, threading, tacking, tucking and stitching what her husband assumes are curtains for his ark windows, is in fact fashioning herself a multi- pocketed cape within which to stash all the ‘troublesome creatures’ that Mr Noah has on his list to leave behind when they set sail on their voyage. Genuis!

James Mayhew has used a strikingly brilliant, new style for his atmospheric illustrations – a mix of collage and print-making …

The design too is superb and those vignettes are little beauties.

This, I think, is destined to become a classic: it deserves a place on every family bookshelf and would make a great addition to any primary classroom collection.

Classic Christmas Briefing

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The Twelve Days of Christmas
William Morris and Liz Catchpole
Penguin Random House V&A
With a gorgeously tactile cover, this is a super-stylish rendition of the ever popular classic seasonal song. It’s illustrated with a mix of patterns chosen from the V&A’s William Morris archive and glorious new artwork by illustrator Liz Catchpole inspired by the work of Morris who was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement.
Best-loved designs such as ‘Cray’ furnishing fabric …

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and ‘Pimpernel’ wallpaper are included …

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but every turn of the page brings fresh delight.
Just the thing to give to a loved one especially a book-lover, or to anyone who likes art and design of the classic kind.

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The Newborn Child
Jackie Morris
Otter-Barry Books
Jackie Morris has created her own text as an accompaniment to her gorgeous illustrations for this new edition of a book previously published a decade ago as Little One We Knew You’d Come. This is very much a feelings-centred telling of the nativity story with much of the focus being on how the mother herself feels before …

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and after the birth. There’s beauty on every page: into Jackie Morris’ richly coloured scenes are woven symbols from the natural world – butterflies and moths, birds and their feathers …

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flowers, fruits and shells, making them truly memorable, especially that final mother and child spread with the thumb-sucking infant.

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Little Grey Rabbit’s Christmas
Alison Uttley and Margaret Tempest
Templar Publishing
A classic Christmas read if ever there was one. I can still recall, as a small child laughing over Hare standing outside in the snow “catching cold, and eating it too,” as my dad read it to me. First published in 1939, but still offering lots to savour and talk about, it’s deliciously nostalgic and full of Christmas kindness. Imagine inviting carol singers in, to pass round a mug of wine and hot mince pies …

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Animals, One Cheetah One Cherry & Flip Flap Pets

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Animals
Ingela P Arrhenius
Walker Studio
This over-sized picture book by Swedish illustrator/designer Arrhenius is sure to have youngsters poring over its gigantic retro-style pages. It features thirty two animals large and small from grasshopper …

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to gorilla, and hippo to frog …

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Every one of the pages would make a lovely poster and it’s hard to choose a favourite animal: I love the muted, matt colours used and the careful placing of pattern; and the lettering fonts and colours seem to reflect the essence of each animal portrayed.

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If you’re looking for something impressive to generate language in youngsters, try putting this book on the floor in your book area and see what happens.
It might also be put to good use in an art lesson for older children.

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One Cheetah, One Cherry
Jackie Morris
Otter-Barry Books
Absolutely stunning paintings of wild animals grace the pages of this stylish, smallish counting book. We start with ‘One cherry, one cheetah’ showing a graceful beast with a luscious-looking cherry between its paws and continue, encountering two dogs, three bears, four foxes …

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five elephants, six tigers, seven pandas, eight otters, nine mice, ten cherries – all carefully poised, thus :

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which takes us back (numberwise) to None. The cheetah has feasted on those ten delicious cherries and looks mighty pleased about it.
What a wonderful array of animals and activities. The language too is so carefully chosen: alliteration abounds as here: ’Four fine foxes/ sharing strawberries.’
or, try getting your tongue around this one: ‘Seven giant pandas, with pretty painted parasols.’

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Such delicate patterning on those parasols and lantern. Indeed pattern is part and parcel of every painting, so too is gold-leaf; but that’s not all. The end papers are equally gorgeous, the front being a dance of numerals, orchestrated by the cheetah and the back shows the number symbols in order with animals/cherries alongside.

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Flip Flap Pets
Axel Scheffler
Nosy Crow
Axel Scheffler offers a multitude of opportunities to create quirky creatures in his latest Flip Flap rhyming extravaganza. Youngsters can turn the basic ten or so popular pets into a whole host of crazy combinations of feather, fur, scale, shell and more. What happens for instance when you cross a stick insect with a budgerigar? You get a STICKERIGAR of course …

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Try crossing a goldfish with a tortoise – that results in a GOLDFOISE:

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and a snake crossed with a cat gives something pretty irresistible – a cake!
It’s possible to make – so that butterfly on the back cover of this bonkers book informs us – 121 combinations. What are you waiting for? If my experience of previous titles in this series is anything to go by, this new addition to the series is likely to inspire children to set about making their own flip flap books.

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The Crow’s Tale & The Wild Swans

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The Crow’s Tale
Naomi Howarth
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Right from the dazzlingly beautiful cover, this book is sheer magic. Told through a lyrical rhyming text and gorgeous, iridescent lithographic/watercolour illustrations, every turn of the page brings new delight – visual and verbal as we are treated to this tale inspired by a Lenni Lenape Native American legend.
It centres around Crow, a beautiful rainbow coloured bird: well that was then. Moreover, at that time, he had a sweet singing voice. So how/why did he end up with that black plumage and harsh-sounding call?
This pourquoi tale tells just that. It begins one day in the depths of winter, snow has covered the ground and the animals huddle together to forge a plan.

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One of their number must take on a perilous journey to bring them some of the Sun’s warmth. The one chosen is none other than Rainbow Crow:
The magnificently coloured kaleidoscope Crow
was the one who would battle through ice, wind and snow.
His flight is swift but hard and long, taking him through the blizzard and into the dazzlingly bright Sun’s realm.

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Awoken from his deep slumbers, Sun however is unwilling to return; instead he gives Crow a burning branch to take back to the animals. During his return flight, Crow’s feathers are blackened by smoke and soot, and his voice becomes nothing more than a harsh croaky ‘caw’.

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A successful mission, yes and his friends praise him wholeheartedly, but still, Crow has lost his beauty and is despondent.
No matter the Sun tells him: “it’s not how you look but how you behave.” that matters … ‘your beauty inside is the heart of the matter.’
In truth however, there is about Crow, an altogether different kind of beauty – a special gift from the Sun.

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It’s the arresting artwork that really steals the show here, wonderfully highlighting the message inherent in the text. Wow! What a debut for Naomi Howarth.
And what an exciting group art project it would make with every member of a group/class contributing a feather for Rainbow Crow and another for his new plumage.

Probably for somewhat older readers/listeners is this amazing retelling of another old tale

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The Wild Swans
Jackie Morris
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Everything Jackie Morris does is brilliant and this is no exception. Here, she takes what is a fairly short story and expands it to 175 pages, enhancing it with her wondrous watercolours

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and turning it into something quite out of this world, a coming of age story with new twists and glorious descriptions of the natural world through which Eliza moves and has her being.
In the morning, Eliza woke to a chorus rich with the singing of birds. She walked, and soon came to a place in the trees where the branches arched over a clear-water pool. Surrounded on all sides by brambles, with a space where the delicate deer came to drink… also on the smooth surface, so still in the forest glade, a mirrored image of sky and leaves, each crystal sharp.’
And as she reaches the sea: ‘’the waves, slate and gold, wind-wrinkled water. The sun was sinking, lower, lower. Soon it would touch the water, slip down behind the horizon.’ Such mesmerisingly beautiful words.
How brilliantly too, we are allowed to share Eliza’s thoughts and feelings, as well as gaining some insights into various characters. The queen, Eliza’s stepmother we are told, ‘learned the ache of loneliness and the sharp pain of jealousy.’ These are truly three-dimensional characters rather than those one often encounters in the fairy tale genre.

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…the bishop…drew the  spider’s web of his plan closer around him like a net.

A book to savour and to revisit, to give and to keep and treasure for oneself; a book to share in the classroom, or, if you can bear to let go of it, for the family bookshelf .

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Bear Hug and other Ursine Delights

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Bear Hug
Katharine McEwen
Templar Publishing
A young bear wakes up and senses that winter is approaching: time to make preparations for the cold that is to come. His parents have prepared him well. Papa showed him how to use the vegetation to make a warm winter bed and mother taught him how to fish. On the cusp of winter, he meets another young bear. Together they fish and feast on ripe berries until as the snow falls harder, they head for the cave

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and snuggle down together, on a ‘shudder-cold night’, cosy, warm and sated for the long sleep, a sleep that lasts until birdsong calls them and it’s time to emerge once more. Out they come to greet the spring and before long, their very own little cub ‘soft as thistledown and lively as a sunbeam’. Then the cycle begins all over again.
With its elegant prose and stylized collage illustrations executed predominantly in earthy colours with occasional splashes of contrasting bright hues as the seasons change, this is a beautiful book.

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I particularly like the pictorial rendition of the birdsong through steamers of colour.

 

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Something About a Bear
Jackie Morris
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
There’s no doubt about Jackie Morris’s love of all things ursine: it shines out from every one of her glorious watercolour paintings in this book. We come close up to bears from all parts of the world. There’s the salmon catching, Brown Bear, the adorable-looking Giant Panda with her child from the mountains of China and the shaggy-coated Sloth Bear in what looks like the grounds of an ancient Indian forest palace.

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South America’s only bear, the Spectacled Bear is portrayed sunbathing and nursing her cubs in the tree tops; the huge watchful black Asian Moon Bear stands out starkly against the snowy mountain landscape. In contrast, the next spread reveals the Polar Bear, the largest of all bears swimming through the icy ocean. Smallest of all, the Sun Bear, despite its beguiling look and dog-sized stature, is feared by tigers and even fiercer than a leopard.
Despite the name, American Black bears can be of several different colours from black through ‘cinnamon and honey’ to white, the ‘rarest, sacred spirits of the forest.
Magnificent every one; but as the child in us all knows, as Jackie Morris suggests, and the penultimate spread reveals, ‘the very best bear of all is

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The final spread contains small vignettes and additional facts about each bear featured and you and any children you share this superb book with, simply MUST place your hands against those life-sized bear paws on the endpapers.
You can buy this one direct from:
http://www.solvawoollenmill.co.uk/jackie-morris-books

If you can’t get enough of bears then there is also:

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Happy Birthday, Hugless Douglas!
David Melling
Hodder Children’s Books pbk
Poor Douglas is devastated when, on his long anticipated birthday, those decidedly overbearing twin cousins of his, Felix and Mash seem determined to usurp all the fun and play things entirely their way. Upset, Douglas heads outside and before long, with a hurt leg and a dizzy head, the birthday bear declares, “This is my worst birthday ever!” It’s time for those crazy cousins to come to the rescue and put their special present into action –

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with the help of Rabbit and some not too willing volunteers. Then they all set off for a surprise birthday tea party and before it ends, Douglas has changed his mind:

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With the characteristic Melling warmth and humour, (there’s a laugh at every turn of the page) this is just the thing for sharing with under sixes on birthdays and other days.

Find and buy from your local bookshop:

http://www.booksellers.org.uk/bookshopsearch

Animal Alert!

A new Burningham book always calls for shouting and waving from the rooftops; this one, for me, especially so:

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The Way to the Zoo
John Burningham
Walker Books
When Sylvie discovers a door in her bedroom wall leading to steps and a passageway, of course she decides to investigate. Torch in hand, she moves along only to discover another door.
Hard work and determination make it yield and Sylvie comes face to face with a zoo full of animals.

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Back to bed she goes, taking with her as sleeping companion a small bear, with the proviso that it is returned to the zoo before school-time next morning.
This, naturally leads to other nocturnal visitors – the small ones only – to Sylvie’s bed but then she brings back penguins; these of course splash water all over the bathroom. Next night comes a tiger and cub, the next a whole collection of birds.

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Not all animals however, are suitable guests,
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others smell and size is an issue in a couple of instances …

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Then one morning, in a rush Sylvie forgets to close the bedroom wall door and on her return discovers that there’s been an animal invasion of the sitting room. Sylvie vents her wrath,

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the animals depart and it’s time for a hasty clean up before her mother returns – O OH!
Now, there’s a lesson to be learned there, Miss Sylvie.
As the inimitable John Burningham himself says, children do believe that their bears are real. Indeed, in my experience, at a young age, the line between fantasy and reality is often blurred and as teachers we frequently encourage their imaginative play and flights of fancy.
This wonderfully understated story works on several levels and the interplay of the verbal and visual is, as ever, truly brilliant Burningham.
Buy from Amazon

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Barbapapa’s Ark
Annette Tison and Talus Taylor
Orchard Books
The shape-shifting Barpapapas don their ‘green’ hats and come to the aid of all manner of threatened animals in this story, be they suffering from pollution sickness, chased by hunters or hounded out of their ocean home by zealous fishermen.

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The hunters are particularly persistent with the result that even Barbabeau with his desirable fur pelt, finds himself in danger.

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Time for the Barba flea sprinklers to set to work …

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Eventually the Barbapapa Refuge is not only over flowing but in serious danger of the encroaching city’s pollution. A rocket-style ark is designed and the Barba family, Francois and Cindy plus all the animals blast off in search of a peaceful, green planet.
Only then do the earth’s inhabitants see the error of their ways: a clean up operation ensues, air and water are purified, promises made, trees planted. Finally Barbabright spies the newly greened planet Earth and the Barba family and animals return home.
The environmental message comes across loud and clear in this delightful re-issue and it is equally pertinent today as it was when the story was first published in 1970. (Interestingly, Talus Taylor, co-creator of the series was himself a biology teacher.) Let’s hope that the people of our earth pay more heed to the Barbapapas’ message this time.
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Zeraffa Giraffa
Dianne Hofmeyr and Jane Ray
Frances Lincoln
What is a giraffe doing in Paris of all places?
Crazy as it may sound, this gorgeous book relates how in 1824, Zeraffa is caught on the plains as a baby giraffe and sent by the Great Pasha of Egypt to the King of France as a gift.

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First though, she is slung on the side of a camel, fed on camel’s milk, then put on board a felucca sailing craft and travels from Africa all the way down the Nile to the coast

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and thence to France. From where, accompanied all the while by the devoted Atir who protects her and cares for her, their journey continues on foot to the palace of Saint-Cloud and where she becomes beloved by the King’s granddaughter too.

 

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Jane Ray’s glorious illustrations illuminate every facet of the journey from the start to Zeraffa’s triumphant welcome into Paris. There seemingly, the entire city is struck by an attack of ‘giraffism’, which embraces everything from baking to hairstyles, musical notation even.

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Ray’s patchwork of giraffe pieces is particularly fine and suitably tinged with humour.
Assuredly this beautifully told and illustrated story is an example of the oft said ‘Truth is stranger than fiction.’
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newly out in paperback and previously reviewed are:

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Monkey Found a Baby
Jeanne Willis and Jane Chapman
Walker Books pbk
A charming rhythmic story about a baby monkey found by a larger one ‘beneath the banyan tree‘.
Buy from Amazon 

and:

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The Ice Bear
Jackie Morris
Frances Lincoln pbk
This lyrical story from the beginning of time when people and animals shared the earth, tells of a polar bear cub, stolen from his mother by Raven, raised as their own child by hunters and much later, having wandered far away from home, forced to make a choice between two families.
Both words and pictures are of equal beauty. Morris’s paintings are both magical and awe-inspiring and as she says at the beginning of the story, ‘Words held a magic‘; assuredly hers do herein.
Buy from Amazon

Find and buy from your local bookshop: http://www.booksellers.org.uk/bookshopsearch

Beasts and Baskets

Picnic
John Burningham
Jonathan Cape
There are echoes of the wonderful Mr Gumpy’s Outing in Burningham’s latest book. Boy and girl invite sheep, pig and duck to join them for a picnic. Their search for a picnic place proves protracted. They are chased by bull and have to hide in the woods, the wind whisks sheep’s hat away, pig drops his ball and duck loses his scarf. When all the items are retrieved they share the picnic basket spread and after fun and games the tired picnickers return to boy and girl’s house on the hill and bed.
Burningham’s peerless pictures in crayon, ink and watercolour and his spare, clear short sentences with engaging questions are in perfect balance within the empty spaces of each page.
Buy from Amazon

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Big Book of Beasts
Emily Gravett
Macmillan
Emily Gravett has a co-creator for her latest offering; it’s Little Mouse (from a Big Book of Fears). Said rodent proceeds to edit her efforts throughout, daubing, nibbling, scribbling and generally interfering with every spread. As the author attempts to present ten animals pictorially with accompanying verse, Little Mouse offers his own take on each one. So, he proceeds to silence the lion’s roar, placing mittens over its claws, swat the worrying wasps with a specially pressed newspaper, and put dainty high-heeled shoes on the feet of the rampaging rhinoceros; but can he avoid being swallowed by the crushing Boa-Constrictor? Seemingly so, for after one final confrontation, what do we find fleeing across the final end-papers but a small, white, paint-spattered mouse?
Purists may be left aghast at mouse’s defacement but the rest of us will revel in this ingenious, truly interactive creation with its mini book of origami, wasp-swatting newspaper, healthy teeth guide, flaps to open and holes throughout.
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The Cat, the Mouse and the Runaway Train
Peter Bently and Steve Cox
Hodder Children’s Books
This adventure starts when a mouse – a skitter-scattery one – living in the stationmaster’s house, steals a piece of cheese and is seen by Carruthers the cat. The mouse is trapped, escapes and is hotly pursued by Carruthers but as he crosses the track, the cat takes a tumble getting his tail stuck in the rails. The minutes tick by and a large red steam train is speeding ever closer, Carruthers promising to chase him no more, begs the mouse to stop the train. Can that tiny creature get back and warn the stationmaster before the train makes mincemeat of his much-loved moggy? Suffice it to say that by the end of the day there is a third resident in the stationmaster’s house, and now he’s entirely welcome.
This rhyming tale, like the train positively races along and one can almost hear the rhythmic sound of the wheels on the track echoing when reading the book aloud. There’s some delicious alliteration too and the tension builds as the stopwatch counts the minutes to ten o’clock when the train is due.
Full of humour and pathos, Steve Cox’s bold bright illustrations mirror the gathering pace and tension of the text. For additional fun, spot Cat and Mouse among the cogwheels, clocks and pipes of the endpapers.
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The Lion and the Mouse
Nahta Noj
Templar Publishing
Cleverly interactive die-cuts really make this version of one of the most retold of Aesop’s fables distinctive.
Standing out against the flat colour backgrounds, composite, collage-style cut-outs help build up the bold images which are truly striking. Jenny Broom’s retelling too is noteworthy and further enlivened by variations in the font size, and weight with lines of print sometimes following the outlines of the illustrations.

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A great book for the primary classroom or for individual sharing.
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Little Evie in the Wild Wood
Jackie Morris and Catherine Hyde
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
One afternoon, wearing red and carrying a basket, Little Evie sets off alone into woods. Following the path ever deeper, her senses alert, she emerges into a clearing and there encounters a great black she wolf. Shades of Red Riding Hood; but, Evie has been sent by her Grandma to find the wolf and share with her seven blood-red jam tarts. After their meal, as the sun sets, the wolf carries Evie on her back to the edge of the wood where she can see the cottage and her waiting mama.
It’s not so much the story, but the manner of the telling that is so striking. Its lyrical, powerfully atmospheric, eerie haunting quality draws you right in from the start creating an air of wonder and mystery.
Visually wonderful too, Catherine Hyde has used acrylics to conjure soft-focus woodland scenes suffused with glowing sunlight, which intensify the air of mystery.
Truly, a book to enchant young and old alike.
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The Day the Crayons Quit
Oliver Jeffers and Drew Daywalt
Harper Collins
Have you ever thought about the crayons you give children to use; did you know for example that they have feelings? No? Well, this hilarious book/story by the brilliant Jeffers (no prizes for guessing which medium he has used) and debut author, Daywalt might make you think again.
Duncan wants to do some colouring but when he goes to use his crayons, he discovers a bundle of twelve letters all of which contain strong words of admonition for the would-be artist.
Red complains that he is even has to work on holidays, Purple is upset that Duncan won’t keep his colour within the lines, Beige is fed up with playing second fiddle to Brown, Grey is demanding a break from colouring large animals, White feels empty and Black doesn’t want to be limited to outlines, Green is happy with his use but wants Duncan to settle a dispute between Yellow and Orange over which is the rightful colour of the Sun, Blue is bothered that he is almost completely used up and Pink thinks she is being discriminated against because Duncan is a boy. And finally, Peach doesn’t want to leave the crayon box because Duncan has peeled his label off leaving him naked.
Needless to say, this wonderfully wacky, creative picture book has plenty of colour particularly after Duncan takes on board all the crayons concerns. I’m not convinced that Beige will be entirely happy though.
Don’t miss this one.
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Eddie and Dog
Alison Brown
Little Tiger Press
Eddie lives close to an airport; he spends time watching the planes and dreaming of adventures in faraway places. One day he spies a small dog in a basket on the luggage carousel and invites him to play. The two briefly enjoy some adventures together but on their return home, Eddie’s mum sends his new playmate to a more suitable home. Next day however, dog is back and despite further attempts to send him packing, Eddie’s determined canine pal returns. Moreover he has a plan: a clever one involving a rooftop space whereon he and Eddie construct a garden compete with lawn, topiary, a tree-house and more.
I like the fact that imagination, determination and perseverance win the day in this story for which Alison Brown’s illustrative style creates the illusion that the characters and objects have been created with a modeling medium.
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