What’s Next?

What’s Next?
Timothy Knapman and Jane McGuinness
Walker Books

Time and again Timothy creates wonderful picture book stories. Here’s another winner.

It tells of curious Baby Badger who loves nothing better than to go exploring; and having exhausted the possibilities in his underground home, he asks his father, “What’s Next?”

Daddy Badger’s response is to take his little one up and out to the forest the very next night.

It’s an exciting place with soft moss to roll in, and bluebell bulbs to snuffle for.

Under the starry sky, Baby Badger thanks his dad, inquiring again, “What’s next?” Daddy points out the sinking moon and announces that since day is coming soon, it’s time for bed.

Little Badger understands that next comes daytime and this too stimulates his curiosity, all the more so since his dad has only dim memories of the daylight world.

Unsurprisingly sleep eludes our ever-inquisitive little friend and he follows his nose out of the sett once more.

The daylight forest is certainly a bright, colourful, exciting place;

but it’s also rather lonely and proves an overwhelming experience for Baby Badger, who now wants nothing except his cosy home and his beloved Daddy.

You can easily imagine what comes next – a wonderfully satisfying finale …

Jane McGuinness has created the perfect pictures to illustrate this smashing story. Rich in detail and beautifully textured, her mixed media scenes of the natural world provide delight at every turn of the page.

A smashing book to share with little ones that will likely stimulate interest in the natural world.

Say Hi to Hedgehogs! / We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Let’s Discover Bugs

Say Hi to Hedgehogs!
Jane McGuinness
Walker Books

Would that we could, is my immediate response to the title of this lovely addition to the Walker Nature Storybook series. I’ve not seen a hedgehog in the wild for a very long time and they used to be fairly commonplace little creatures foraging in suburban back gardens and I know they are now an endangered species.
All the more reason to get to know something about them; and here’s just the book from debut author and illustrator Jane McGuinness to help youngsters do just that.
The main text takes the form of a narrative ostensibly by a small girl pictured at the start of the book. She introduces readers to a particular hedgehog and her babies (hoglets)

and their everyday life, habits, diet …

and behaviour through the year.
This is presented in a large, easy to read font and includes some lovely playful language such as ‘sniffling and snuffling and snaffling … whirring and churring and purring’ making it a great read aloud. Additional, more detailed factual information is set out in a smaller script throughout the book.
The final spread has advice on how to make your home hedgehog friendly, an index, a short bibliography and a list of useful websites.
Hedgehogs are truly endearing creatures and Jane McGuinness’s illustrations, which look to be rendered in pastel, paint and crayon, do full justice to their charms; and her scenes of their nocturnal meanderings are absolutely beautiful.

Jane McGuinness is definitely an illustrator to watch.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Let’s Discover Bugs
Walker Entertainment

Following on from the success of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Adventure Field Guide, Walker have added new titles to the series of which this is one.
Before sallying forth on a bug hunt, it’s wise to make sure you’re prepared and the opening page is devoted to so doing,
Thereafter it’s bugs all the way, first in the garden and then further afield into the woods, to the pond and finally, out into the meadows.
Each location introduces several minibeasts and offers related activities and some basic factual information.
Everything is clearly and attractively presented and at the back are several pages of stickers to be used in some of the activities.
This clever and fun book is ideal for children who love to explore the outdoors. It’s just the size for popping into a rucksack and likely to make outdoor forays all the more interesting and rewarding.