This is Crab / The Bedtime Book

Here are two titles from the Little Tiger group that are just right to share with preschool children:

This is Crab
Harriet Evans and Jacqui Lee
Caterpillar Books

This is another interactive book from Harriet Evans and illustrator Jacqui Lee and this one has an ocean floor setting and a googly-eyed red crustacean as its central character.

We join and assist Crab as he wanders around the sea bed encountering in turn, bit part players in the form of an octopus,

some coral, sea turtles, fish of various kinds and hues as well as a Decorator Crab that our meanderer gets a tad cheeky with.

Bright alluring illustrations including several spreads with die-cut overlays will certainly engage visually, while eager fingers will enjoy responding to such instructions as ‘shake your finger at Crab, please’; ‘Try tickling Crab so he lets go’ and ‘Tap on Crab to make the crack larger’ and they’ll assuredly delight in the revelation of Crab’s new pink shell once they’ve helped peel off the cracked red one.

Words such as ‘drumroll’, ‘scuttle’ and ‘pincers’ are introduced as the action proceeds, so will likely be absorbed by youngsters as they react to the prompts to facilitate Crab’s perambulations through the story.

The Bedtime Book
S. Marendaz and Carly Gledhill
Little Tiger

Like little humans, Mouse has a favourite bedtime book. Who better to help her find it when it goes missing than Frank the dachshund but he’s just snuggled down for a peaceful night’s sleep in his kennel.

Cosy as he might be though, Frank’s not one to leave his friend to search alone so off they go together ‘scurry, scurry, scurry … pant, pant, pant’ on a book hunt. They follow a trail that leads them to Bella the cat.

What Bella tells them has all three of them scurrying and panting off again but still there’s no sign of the missing book.

Owl overhears their conversation and reveals that he had it but it’s now set to be the next bedtime story for Baby Hedgehog.

Kind-hearted Mouse won’t hear of trying to retrieve it and instead goes sadly back to bed. So too does Frank although instead of falling asleep he has a wonderful idea that soon sees him back at Mouse’s residence

where in lieu of Mouse’s book, we’ll leave the two friends snuggled together under the stars having shared Frank’s bedtime favourite …

This sweet gentle story is likely to become a bedtime favourite for pre-schoolers who will love to snuggle down and make some animal friends thanks to Carly Gledhill’s delightful portrayal of the nocturnal happenings.

This is Frog / Let’s Find the Tiger

This is Frog
Harriet Evans and Jacqui Lee
Caterpillar Books

Rainforest dwelling Frog (a tree frog) needs help with everyday life and little ones can help him by following the author’s suggestions throughout the story.
Occasionally though the outcome is somewhat unexpected as when having followed him up the page, we discover Frog now upside down, but happily he can use those sticky feet to stay attached to the branch.
When he has a brief attack of forgetfulness as a swarm of yummy-looking flies are blown in his direction, he needs readers to show him how to use his tongue, and then to stop all but the one he’s savouring from buzzing away.

If Frog’s not careful he’ll be the next meal of a toucan who most definitely hasn’t come along for a friendly visit – a loud croak will warn our Frog though, along with a deft hand movement.

There’s more to do however, when monsoon rains come splashing down, especially as our Frog friend, being a tree frog isn’t enthusiastic about swimming, so help is needed to ensure that he ends the day’s adventure safe and sound on his branch to recover for his next round of froggy fun.

With a spattering of playful language throughout and a plethora of interactive opportunities for little ones to perform, Harriet Evans’ narrative should keep them interested throughout.

With occasional cutaway pages, Jacqui Lee’s amusing illustrations of Frog in his lush habitat make for a fun book to share with the very young, and along the way they might absorb a few Tree froggy facts.

Let’s Find the Tiger
illustrated by Alex Willmore
Caterpillar Books

In this seek-and-find, peep through, felt flap board book, little ones are invited to find Tiger. The playful creature has hidden away somewhere in the jungle wherein live lots of other creatures some of which when almost completely hidden away behind the flora or even in the water, might at first glance be the animal they’re looking for.

But the supposed long stripy tail, sparkly white teeth, curly whiskers,

and striped curvy objects are not Tiger.

Could the dark, tucked away location be its hideaway?

With an engaging question and answer, repeat refrain narrative and Alex WIllmore’s colourful jungle scenes to explore, this is both fun and gently educative.

Everybunny Dream! / Hop Little Bunnies / This is Owl / Sleep, My Bunny

Everybunny Dream!
Ellie Sandall
Hodder Children’s Books

Ellie Sandall’s latest Everybunny tale is essentially a bedtime story.

Through a gentle rhyming narrative and a sequence of captivating scenes, some frolicsome, others more peaceful, we share in the bedtime ritual of the little bunnies as they respond to their mother’s instructions,

until they’re tucked up cosily under the covers.

Who should appear suddenly though but another creature with a long orange bushy tail, also clad in night attire.

Before long there’s a host of baby fox cubs sitting with the little bunnies – who have now all hopped out of bed – avidly listening to a good night tale

and then it really is time to snuggle down altogether for some shut-eye and perhaps some pleasant dreams.

A lovely way to send your little ones off into the land of nod at the end of a busy day.

Hop Little Bunnies
Martha Mumford and Laura Hughes
Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Based on nursery favourite Sleeping Bunnies, Martha Mumford has written a jaunty text that includes not only the bunnies of the original song but also fluffy lambs, tiny chicks, kittens and ducklings

all of which sleep until noon and wake up and make lots of noise.

They then go on to play for the rest of the day before a bedtime song sends them all off to sleep once more.

With plenty of flaps to investigate and sounds to make, Laura Hughes charming rural illustrations add to the springtime bounce of Martha’s words.

This cheery charmer is likely to become a much requested book for young listeners be that at home or in an early years setting.

After an initial sharing I’d suggest an action packed story session with sleeping, hopping, leaping and swimming, not forgetting baa-ing, cheeping, mewing and quacking.

Another book that invites interaction is:

This is Owl
Libby Walden and Jacqui Lee
Caterpillar Books
The sun is shining, Owl is fast asleep and doesn’t want to wake up but the book has to start so the reader’s help is needed to rouse our feathered friend.

Tummy tickling is only partially successful so the sun needs to be extinguished and replaced by a moon.

Hurrah Owl now has both eyes open but Beetle further along the branch is causing a distraction.

A considerable amount of page flapping is required to help Owl reach Beetle but then they both disappear. Oops! Where can Owl be?

With the help of several more birds Owl is eventually located and it seems one has become two for alongside is Other Owl.

Strangely the pair of them are doing a little uncharacteristic nest building so a bit of twig collecting from reader’s won’t come amiss.

Sometime later, once that threatening raincloud has gone, Owl has something in the nest to show off to readers.

By the time the sun starts to come up once again, two owls have become three and it’s time to bid them all farewell.

Feathery fun with a tad of scientific learning included, Libby Walden’s gently humorous, guiding words, in tandem with Jacqui Lee’s eye-catching, funny illustrations will certainly make for an active animal shared book experience.

Sleep, My Bunny
Rosemary Wells
Walker Books

Here’s a lovely way to wind down with your little one(s) at the end of the day.

Rosemary Wells’ gently flowing text reads like a lullaby as it talks of the sounds of evening: the simultaneous song of owls and crickets; the night wind that has ‘taken the moon for a ride’, the first soft summer rain.

Alongside we see, in Van Gogh-like impressionist style, a sunlit tree outside and then as the sun goes down, a series of gradually darkening skies shown through the window, foregrounded by scenes of a little bunny going through his night-time routine with his mother and father.

On each spread the textual border mirrors the sky seen outside.

There’s obvious love and tenderness in this bunny family so adorably depicted in this lovely bedtime book.