Thanks to publishers Little Tiger for sending these new board books for review
Amelia Hepworth and Jorge Martín
Who will be the winner of the Best Roar in Town contest? With a dapper duck as compere, the animals take turns to let loose their most fearsome roars. There’s Mouse who receives faint praise; Penguin – not overly impressive; Dog – definitely an underwhelming performance and then comes Dinosaur.
Now here’s a likely winner especially with a score of eight.
Hang on though, step forward another competitor …
With flaps to manipulate, number scores to recognise, contestants’ comments from the sidelines and the entire verbal presentation via speech bubbles, little ones will delight in the silliness of the whole thing as well as the opportunities for some roaring.
The latest in this Little Nature series presents animals as constructors of their own homes. There are honey bees busily building a beeswax safe place to store food and keep their eggs. Then comes stick-collecting eagle looking for materials to build a nest, followed by web-spinning spider and finally a pair of beavers. These strong-toothed mammals collect stones and bits of trees to build a dam wherein they make a cosy lodge.
Peek-through holes provide additional interest to this one and it’s printed on 100% recycled board which gives a lovely feel to the sturdy pages.
Fairy Tale Pets
Tracey Corderoy and Jorge Martin
Little Tiger Press
Bob and his dog Rex live a happy life in their neat abode but Bob needs a job. Being an animal lover he decides pet-sitting is just the ticket and advertises his services all over town.
The following day business is booming but not with the cats, dogs, rabbits and hamsters Bob had been anticipating. Oh dear no!
First comes a golden-haired young miss with a baby bear that needs minding while she’s on her hols.
Next to call is Jack (who insists on paying with beans) and his goose Gabby. Not the comparatively easy task Bob anticipated and before long eggs are flying around all over his once tidy home. That however is actually after the arrival of client number three with her billy goats, and you certainly don’t say no to someone looking like that.
Just when it looks as though matters can’t get any worse, along come three little pigs with their oh so ‘friendly’ um, ‘puppy’. Who are they fooling?
Certainly not young listeners, who by now will be positively squealing with delight.
It’s not difficult to guess what that so called puppy does, which leaves an exasperated Bob without a home or job: he quits pet-sitting and who can blame him; it’s far too hazardous.
That just leaves those beans …
Talk about fairy tale frenzy; Tracey Corderoy’s text is a treat for both listeners (who will enjoy spotting all their favourite characters) and readers aloud.
Laughs aplenty are assured in Jorge Martin’s zesty, slapstick depictions of the mayhem caused by the stream of outlandish animal arrivals at Bob’s residence.
Full of potential following a classroom sharing; but most important, a thoroughly fun-filled picture book.
I’ve signed the charter
Jorge Martin provides a cracking debut with his story – in more ways than one. Set on a distant island, it starts with a baby dragon’s emergence from its egg; she’s a very hungry baby dragon whose overwhelming thoughts are to fill her tummy. Her first encounter is with a crab wanting a game of footie.
You can guess what happened to that little chap. Next, our Baby Dragon comes upon a cockatoo; he’d like a story …
That certainly isn’t on the dragon’s agenda however, so off flies the cockatoo. But he’s not the only one with wings; and before long, his fate is the same as the crab’s …
Baby Dragon continues rampaging around the island scoffing each and every animal; make that almost every one …
Even she meets her match here.
All alone in the aftermath of her chomping, Baby Dragon suddenly notices someone is coming her way; someone who, having heard Baby Dragon’s story, does a bit of rapid thinking, followed by a bit of strategic paw waggling, after which the population of the island increases once more: Baby Dragon has a lesson in appropriate dragon diet, makes an apology – or many – and fun ensues for everyone. Oops! Did I say everyone? …
Baby Dragon, despite her all consuming habit, is a lovable creature and one I envisage that will find many new friends among the young children who hear her tale. My listeners certainly were charmed and demanded an immediate repeat performance.
A promising new talent: Jorge Martin has populated his story with a host of deliciously winsome characters; his arresting spreads exude humour and I was reminded a touch of early David McKee in some of them.
Use your local bookshop