Where’s Will? / Spot the Dinosaur on the Island

Where’s Will?
Tilly and Anna Claybourne
Ivy Kids

Published a while back but new to this reviewer (thanks to the publishers for sending it now) this is a Shakespearean search-and-find extravaganza that presents the bard in an accessible way for young audiences; and let’s face it none of us is going to be able to see a live performance of any of the plays featured in the foreseeable future.

Anna Claybourne has chosen what are arguably, the ten most popular stories show-casing each one through a context setting summary, for instance ‘Twelfth Night is a comedy, and once again Shakespeare’s plot involves the mix-ups caused by people wearing disguises‘, and a story board outline of its plot, along with its cast, that she and artist, Tilly, present on the first of two spreads.

The second is a busy panoramic scene wherein the characters are hiding in plain sight for readers to find; so too is the playwright himself who insists on putting in an appearance in each of his featured works (as does a pig for some reason).

The original language isn’t retained in the storyboard texts – probably an impossible task – but readers familiar with any of the plays could try choosing an appropriate line or two for each vignette, thus adding a further dimension to using the book.
The artist has chosen different tones for each play, thus helping to capture both the drama’s setting and the spirit of its performance.
Some Shakespeare aficionados will likely throw up their hands in horror at all this, but it’s a case of ‘to see, or not to see’ and this bard enthusiast recommends seeing; it’s a case of the more you look, the more you see.

Books such as this could be a boon in the forthcoming weeks, and this one is surely both immersive and entertaining.

For younger search-and-find enthusiasts try:

Spot the Dinosaur on the Island
Stella Maidment and Joelle Dreidemy

Again not brand new but worth getting hold of and sharing with little ones at that dinosaur-mad age most of them go through.

Herein, Joelle Dreidemy’s alluring, bold, bright scenes offer plenty for youngsters to see including a playful baby T. Rex that hides on every double spread while Stella Maidment’s brief narrative guides users, giving snippets of information throughout the adventure.

We visit first the island in its entirety, followed by a sequence of closer-in views of dinosaurs feeding,

moving, hatching, showing off their protective features and some even enjoy a dip, while others take to the air. Then there are those like Pleiosaurus that actually lived in the sea, so there’s plenty of visual information to absorb, as well as five items to spot on each spread.

The last scene is a busy archaeological dig and this is followed by ‘More to Spot’ – an invitation to take another look, a ‘Did you know?’ page and finally, some crafty fun.


The Wolves Who Came for Dinner / The Lamb Who Came for Dinner

The Wolves Who Came for Dinner
Steve Smallman and Joëlle Dreidemy
Little Tiger

Wolf and Hotpot (who nearly became Wolf’s dinner in a previous story) are now the best of pals much to the puzzlement of the other forest animals.

So when Wolf invites all the bunnies for a playdate and subsequently spends the morning cooking carrot cakes, his greeting of “Teatime!’ has the bunnies fleeing for, so they think, their lives. Poor Wolf is downcast. Hotpot assures Wolf of his goodness and in return Wolf suggests going out to find and play with the bunnies in the forest.

Things don’t go well in the hide-and-seek game; the terrified bunnies make a bolt for it.

Wolf decides to invite his lupine pals to meet Hotpot instead; but when they turn up Gripper, Nipper and Growler have ominously grumbly tums. Wolf however serves up a yummy vegetable soup after which they settle down for a story followed by a snuggly sleep.

Nevertheless the other forest creatures remain convinced Wolf’s friendship with Hotpot is a sham and things turn very soggy for good old Wolf.

Back home, who should be waiting for the two friends but Gripper, Nipper and Growler requesting another story and a sleepover.

So bothered about Hotpot’s fate are the other woodland animals that they stage a further rescue attempt, charging in on the slumberers.

Initially the other wolves are reluctant to drop their stereotypes, offering to consume some of the intruders; but Hotpot stands up for her best pal and all ends satisfactorily like all good stories – and I definitely count this one among them, -with the whole cast of characters living ‘happily ever after.”

Steve’s toothsome tale is a great one for challenging stereotypes and showing that it’s wrong to prejudge others, while simultaneously gently advocating a plant-derived diet. And as someone who eschews animal and dairy products I’m all for this.

Joëlle Dreidemy’s characters are splendidly rendered in her hilarious scenes of the woodland animals as they gradually come to terms with, and overcome, their prejudiced assumptions.

The Lamb Who Came for Dinner
Steve Smallman and Joëlle Dreidemy
Little Tiger

A dozen or so years ago I reviewed in BKF, this story of love and vegetarianism triumphing over Wolf’s inherent carnivorous instincts. I loved it then and do so now with Steve’s super characterisation, deliciously funny text and Joëlle Dreidemy’s droll illustrations.

Now with an accompanying audio CD, a new generation of listeners will relish seeing and hearing of what appears to be a thoroughly menacing Wolf’s first encounter with a freezing cold lamb that comes a-knocking on his door seeking shelter from the elements.

Dino Doings


James was suitably disgusted by this story.

Yikes, Stinkysaurus!
Pamela Butchart and Sam Lloyd
Bloomsbury pbk
Which is the most scary of all the dinosaurs? Not the ones with giant claws, nor those with horns or even spiky tails; not even fearsome tempered T-rex. Meet Stinkysaurus; so malodorous is he that a single whiff can render T-rex unconscious before him. So, what is the cause of the foul smell that emanates from the giant? Not just one cause; indeed his firm refusals to take a bath or brush his teeth are just a start. Stinkysaurus’s sneezes are truly green and goosome and his wind is unbelievably whiffy. Enough is enough, decide the other dinosaurs and together they construct an enormous bath into which Stinky is forcefully shoved.


The result? A squeaky-clean dinosaur that all the others want to play with; he can even take a swamp romp with his new friends.
With its winning combination of dinosaurs and disgusting habits rendered in new author Pamela Butchart’s rollicking rhyme and Sam Lloyd’s riotous scenes, this is sure to delight young listeners who will be unable to stop themselves showing mock disgust at Stinky’s dreadful doings. Perfume sprays a-ready for an ‘euugh!’- filled storytime.
Buy from Amazon

Another winning combination of dinosaurs and poo (as opposed to pooh! this time) is:

Daniel delighting at Dinosaur Doo

Daniel delighting at Dinosaur Doo

Dinosaur Doo
Andrew Weale and Joelle Dreidemy
Hodder Children’s Books pbk
Young inventor Spark lives in a lovely green valley with his friends. One day their peaceful village life is disturbed by a very large deposit of disgustingly stinky dinosaur doings. But there’s more to come in the form of baby iguanodon’s pea-sized pingy poo,


stegosaurus’s cannon balls, triceratops’s plip ploppings and an unforgettable shower from brachiosaurus’s rear. Time for some inventive thinking from Spark. After a lot of digging, boulder moving, paper-making (for the botty wipes), tree felling, sawing and constructing, he and his friends have, by sunrise next day, erected a spectacular surprise for the interlopers – a dinosaur loo complete with flush and handy loo roll. Dino delight no less. Is this the end of the problem for Spark and his friends though? Well, not quite, for what are those winged creatures swooping over the hill? Dinosaur birds; and everyone knows what they like to do as they fly …
This terrific tale is told in tongue-tickling rhyme that is fun to read aloud and hilariously illustrated by French artist Joelle Dreidemy. Her scenes with blissed out, pooping dinosaurs and contrastingly horrified villagers are splendid, as are those of the construction site.
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Don’t forget International Book Giving Day is coming up soon.