Rainbow & Opposites / Little Mouse’s Big Secret

Rainbow
Opposites

Jane Cabrera
Templar Publishing
Pleasing design and adorable illustrations are the hallmark of Jane Cabrera’s books for the very young. Her two latest offerings have both those qualities.
Rainbow has die-cut arched pages that build up to form a rainbow.
It’s a fun board book to enjoy together and each colour spread, with its named items …

could make a great starting point for adult and child to participate in some shared storying.
Opposites uses flaps and while young children acquire concepts such as slow/fast and wet/dry from real life experiences, books such as these can facilitate this development in an interactive, playful way, helping to reinforce the vocabulary.

Here you can play a game with your child or children by asking them to guess what is hidden behind each interesting shaped flap before being allowed to open it. This game also introduces the idea of predicting as an important reading strategy.

Little Mouse’s Big Secret
Éric Battut
Sterling
Little Mouse finds a yummy red apple on the ground and decides to keep it a secret. He buries it. Shhhh! Don’t tell. Friends pass by and each wants to know what Mouse is hiding. “It’s my secret, and I’ll never tell,” is Mouse’s reply to Bird, Turtle, Hedgehog,

Rabbit and Frog.
Nature takes its course and eventually, Mouse’s secret’s out – well and truly. Mouse takes a big decision; he shares and all his friends reap the rewards.

The spare, repetitive text and cute yet subtle illustrations make this best for sharing one-to-one or with a very small group of pre-school children. Equally, it’s ideal for beginning readers who are likely to be sufficiently savvy to realise what mouse doesn’t: that right behind his back, a tree is growing …

I’ve signed the charter  

Now! / Say Hello/ Kiss Goodnight

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Now!
Tracey Corderoy and Tim Warnes
Little Tiger Press
The older little Archie gets, the more demanding (albeit adorable); well maybe he was always VERY demanding but ‘Now’ is a word more frequently used by adults in my experience. Moreover, his constant demanding of same, always tends to end in minor catastrophes – for others mostly…

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though he does sometimes have to learn from his over-eagerness …

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When holiday time looms – ten days away to be precise – Archie finds it hard to contain himself; ten days is an enormously long time to wait. Dad comes up with an idea …

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and a few distractions to help time pass quickly.
Eventually the big H-day dawns and suddenly Archie has changed his tune; “Wait!” he cries. “We can’t go NOW!” …
To discover why Archie is demanding a delay, and to learn if they ever do get that promised plane trip

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and holiday, you’ll need to get hold of a copy of this beautifully funny book. Yet again the Archie/Tracey Corderoy/Tim Warnes amalgam works its magic.

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The little rhino’s always a winner in my book.

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Say Hello
Kiss Goodnight
Jane Cabrera
Templar Publishing
These two charming little books provide lots of opportunities for the very young to join in with the various baby animal sounds (not forgetting, a human one) and some actions too.
In Say Hello we do just that, first greeting the sun and the day itself …

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and then once they’re awake, greetings can be exchanged with Chick, Piglet, Puppy, Frog, Calf, Bunny, Lamb, Bee (I love this buzzy being) …

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and finally, a Baby “Goo Goo”.
Kiss Goodnight starts by bidding ‘Goodnight’ to the Moon and proffering a kiss to all the ‘Sleepy babies’: Fox … isn’t he adorable?

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Owl, Bat, Mouse, Kitten, Bear, Hedgehog, Wolf and Baby. Shh!
As with all Jane Cabrera’s books, pattern plays an important part: here it’s gorgeous patterned backgrounds against which she places the subjects addressed in the simple, patterned texts  and the brush-stroke patterns on the faces.
Perfect for sharing with the very youngest listeners and ideal too, for slightly older beginning readers to try for themselves. (And far superior to dull early scheme fodder.)
I love the near, but not perfect, symmetry of the various faces …

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and I can see youngsters, inspired by the illustrations, attempting to create similar faces for themselves and perhaps making them into masks.

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Playful Books for Little Ones

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Peek-a-Boo You!
Jane Cabrera
Templar Publishing
A frisky cat plays peek-a-boo with a small girl and her ted as it frolics through the peep holes in the pages of this delightful rhyming book. Kitty delights in activities such as jumping into a shoebox

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and overturning a beaker, although perhaps she isn’t quite so delighted by this …

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However, the playful puss has a surprise for the little girl …

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and there’s a surprise finale for readers too.
Great fun to share with the very young. Equally, with its predictable patterned text, this book is ideal for beginning readers and so much more fun that dull reading scheme fodder.

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One Lonely Fish
Andy Mansfield and Thomas Flintham
Templar Publishing
‘A counting book with bite!’ announces the cover of this playful book as we begin with one very tiny fish swimming through the sea watched only, or so it seems, by a couple of crabs from the ocean floor.
Flip the fin-like page and a second fish is revealed now swimming behind the first.

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Continue in similar fashion until nine fish of increasing size swim one behind the other, still watched by that pair of crabs that are now looking decidedly alarmed and turning over one more time will reveal the reason why.

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What follows is a satisfying finale? – Err, that all depends on your viewpoint.
Great fun and full of mathematical potential within and beyond the pages of the book.

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Brown Bear Colour Book
Jane Foster
Templar Publishing
This charming concept book is also an invitation to play hide and seek with Brown Bear – he peeps through the increasingly large die-cut circle on every colour spread. The three primary colours plus orange, green and purple each have a double spread which follows the same form: text on the left-hand side; seven small pictures, plus bear peeping through, on the right. The text too, keeps to a repeating pattern: here is Red …

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In fact pattern is key to the whole thing. The individual objects are beautifully patterned

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and often set against a patterned background in a shade of the featured colour.
As the pages are turned the previous colours are visible through the increasingly large hole on the left hand die-cut circle until the surprise grand finale …

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Those of us who have taught young children /and or/ are parents, will know that the very young do not generally acquire colour concepts from books, rather they develop them through experiences of the real world and interactions with adults. However, this book will certainly help to reinforce ideas relating to colour and is a delight in itself. There is so much to talk about on every spread; and the predictable, repeating pattern of the whole thing makes it a book that beginning readers can enjoy trying for themselves.

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Gobbly Goat
Axel Scheffler
Nosy Crow
It’s lunchtime and Gobbly Goat has a rumbly tum. He wanders around the farmyard in search of something tasty to munch. Ugh! That straw hat tastes pretty disgusting, the rosy apples are way too high and Horse isn’t keen on sharing his hay so what can Gobbly gobble? …

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Told with a rhyming text and with deliciously funny farmyard scenes, this is a tasty treat for toddlers who will delight in pressing that sound button and making Gobbly bleat.

In similarly delightful Scheffler style and also in boardbook format is

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Higgly Hen
Nosy Crow
Here, although Higgly is hungry as the story begins, food is not the main object of her search. No sooner has she begun her food finding walk than her eggs hatch – six in all –

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and it’s those she wanders around the farm in search of. Silly hen; it’s a good thing that the cat, horse, pigs and other farmyard animals are on hand to help with her hunt.

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