Tag Archives: Little Tiger

Sea: A World Beneath the Waves / Dolphins

Sea: A World Beneath the Waves
Britta Teckentrup and Patricia Hegarty
Little Tiger

In her latest non-fiction, die-cut peep-through picture book, in a series of wondrous scenes Britta Teckentrup plunges us beneath the ocean waves, way, way down to view the wonders of the deep.

Amid the corals and seaweed fronds we see small fish, sponges, tiny graceful sea horses; a baby dolphin and its mother chirping and clicking in communication, a Lionfish with its poison spines ready to use should it be attacked.

Suddenly there’s a feeling of fear: the fish sense danger as a great white shark casts its shadow. The other sea creatures though, employ their defence mechanisms while the tropical fish swim in formation and all is well.

Night comes and the ocean is a-glow with light;

his song echoing far the humpback whale sings for all to hear, the manatee glides through sea grasses and the corals provide safe spaces for small ocean creatures.

Patricia Hegarty’s lyrical text ends with a plea to protect ocean life by keeping the oceans clean and free from rubbish.

Dolphins!
Laurence Pringle and Meryl Henderson
Boyds Mills Press

Pringle immediately grabs readers’ attention with his introductory ‘If you were a young dolphin, your mother would keep you close, feed you milk and teach you’ that could almost be referring to a human mother. The remainder of the paragraph however negates that with its ‘Soon you would learn to swim fast and catch fish to eat. And sometimes you would leap from the water, high into the air!’ while his final statement on the first page “People would be very curious about the secrets of your life beneath the surface’ sets the scene for the remainder of this fascinating book.

It covers many aspects of the thirty or so dolphin species including classification, morphology and physiology. There’s a fascinating account of dolphins’ use of echolocation;

another of feeding – dolphins are predators, consuming huge amounts of food daily –

and communication. I learned that in addition to sounds, dolphins send messages with their bodies, sometimes by rubbing skins, at others, by touching flippers.

All this and more is related in the author’s highly readable prose that is superbly illustrated by Meryl Hendersen in watercolour and pencil.

Although it’s likely that this will be read by individuals, this book also works really well if read aloud – a testament to the quality of the author’s writing.

Choo-Choo Peekaboo / Marvel Alpha Block / Where Do Pants Go?

Choo-Choo Peekaboo
Gareth Lucas
Little Tiger

Artistically minded Zebra sets out one fine morning eager to spend a day engaged in his favourite pastime, painting. Seemingly however, his animal friends and acquaintances have other ideas.

Chaos ensues wherever poor Zebra stops and begins his artistic endeavours, be it city,

riverside, by a lake, deep in the countryside,

even atop a mountain he finds no peace. Surely nothing can disturb his nocturnal attempt though? Errrm!

It looks as though there is only one way to please everyone … BEEP BEEP! TOOT TOOT! And off they go …

With paint-daubing primates, a loop-the-looping porcine, roller-skating rabbits, cable-car riding cows, a space-ship sortie by sheep even; all of which are revealed from behind the gate-fold flaps, this interactive book will delight tinies, especially those with a penchant for noisy vehicles, madcap animals and surprises – that covers pretty much all of them.

Add to the mix, laugh-out loud scenarios, speech bubbles and a highly satisfying finale, I’d say Gareth Lucas has a hit on his hands with this sturdy board book.

And adults will enjoy the visual references to famous artists along the way.

Marvel Alpha Block
Peskimo
Abrams Appleseed

Bristol based illustration/design partnership Peskimo have chosen scenes and characters from the Marvel Cinematic
Universe for their latest Block Book. As usual it’s a chunky board book with flaps and splendid action scenes, that feature herein everything from Ant Man to Falcon,

and Pepper Potts to Xandar, Yondu and Zuri, before the entire cast assembles in alphabetical order on a grand finale fold-out.

Amazingly, each superhero represents a letter of the alphabet – a large cut-out capital letter that leaps up from the centre of the spread and beneath which lurks the superhero in an action scene (along with other characters who may or may not share the same initial letter).

Watch out for punch packing potential should more than one little would-be superhero get their hands on this simultaneously. With its super art, it surely is a winning alphabet book that I suspect, adults will enjoy almost as much as their young ones.

Where Do Pants Go?
Rebecca Van Slyke and Chris Robertson
Sterling

A fun interactive book about getting dressed takes toddlers through the routine dressing ritual. To avoid confusion, adult sharers not in the US should be forewarned that “underwear’ is used for pants and pants herein refers to trousers, so readers aloud will probably want to make some adjustments as they read the question and answer narrative with tinies.

Said tinies will doubtless delight in the cumulative, predictable text with its repeated final ‘and underwear on your bottom!’

and giggle over the silly placements of the various items of clothing in this book that reminded me somewhat of Shigeo Watanabe and Yasuo Ohtomo’s How Do I Put It On? that features a muddled little bear.

A satisfying finale sees all the fully dressed little ones enjoying some outdoor play together.

Will You Help Me Fall Asleep? / I’m Not Grumpy!

Will You Help Me Fall Asleep?
Anna Kang & Christpoher Weyant
Hodder Children’s Books

Little Frog is anxious to fall asleep and asks readers to help him for if he doesn’t get sufficient sleep his mother won’t allow him to participate in the Frogatta boat races the following day; in other words he’ll be in BIG, big trouble and there’s no fooling his observant mum.

He tries our (supposed) suggested counting sheep, a bedtime book – definitely not the best idea – and a chat with last year’s prize caterpillar toy all of which fail and then he recalls his teacher, Miss Chon’s advice to breathe long and deep then mind travel to his ‘happy place …

and joy of joys, zzzzzzzz.

Whether the final wordless spread is Monty’s blissful dream or the young frog’s elated presence (along with his parents) at the next day’s Frogatta is left open to readers to decide: no matter which, one cannot help but root for little amphibious Monty in this frog-a-licious bedtime tale.

With Christpher Weyant’s super, lively, cartoonish scenes of Anna Kang’s dramatic telling, the book is enormous fun for pre-sleep sharing, especially for little ones with a touch of insomnia.

I’m Not Grumpy!
Steve Smallman and Caroline Pedler
Little Tiger

Waking up to discover a huge furry bottom blocking your door might put most of us in a bad mood; it certainly does Mouse whose mood further deteriorates when he’s splatted on the nose by – so he thinks – a splashy raindrop.

In fact it’s a tear shed by a distraught little badger just outside his window wailing, “Where’s my Mummy?”

Together the two animals set off in search of the Mummy Badger only to find themselves lost.

Encounters with Squirrel and Owl both of which recognise Mouse as ‘that grumpy mouse”, (hotly denied by said Mouse), are willing to help in the search and off they all go deep into the forest.

There they come upon a large bear. On learning that Mouse is in fact helping Little Badger get home, the bear changes his grumpy accusation to “a kind friend”; a first for Mouse.

They travel deeper into the forest until Mouse becomes overwrought

which results in Owl giving him a cheer-up hug – another unusual event for the little creature. Suddenly out of the bushes emerges a very scary, very hungry predator.

Does that mean Squirrel, Badger, Owl and Mouse become a lupine’s evening meal?

Happily not. I won’t divulge the ending, but what ensues will certainly bring a happy smile to the faces of young listeners.

With opportunities for audience participation, Steve’s warm-hearted story with Caroline Pedler’s expressively portrayed woodland animals provides a good starting point for circle time discussion with early years children on themes of friendship, kindness, and on how their moods might affect other people.

The Tide

The Tide
Clare Helen Welsh and Ashling Lindsay
Little Tiger

What a heart-wrenchingly beautiful story Clare Helen Welsh’s little girl narrator tells as she talks of her beloved Grandad. ‘Mummy says that Grandad loves me very much but that sometimes he gets confused.’

We then spend a day with the family at the beach – the child, her mum and Grandpa set up camp and as Mum watches, child and Grandad build sand castles and forts, crown themselves ‘king and queen of net and shells’. They all share a picnic (Grandad gets confused and buries the sandwiches) and then they go rock pooling (Grandad and granddaughter) and watch the movement of the tide as it comes in.

Mum likens Grandad’s memories to the tide – ‘sometimes near and close and full of life. Other times, far away and distant.’

Their musings are broken by voices and the family proceed together to buy ice-creams and again child and grandfather watch the tide

before becoming ankle deep in sea-water.

All too soon it’s time to go home but first they must shake away and wash off the sand and salty water.

Then it’s back home to talk lovingly together about their shared day.

The likening of Grandad’s memory to the ebb and flow of the tide is both moving and enormously powerful: Clare has chosen the perfect figurative language to help children to begin to understand dementia and be at ease with the subject. And, I can think of no better illustrator than Ashling Lindsay whose work I’ve loved since seeing her very first picture book. Her warm colour palette here is just gorgeous, radiating the unconditional love that so clearly exists between family members, especially child and Grandad.

A must have for family collections and for primary schools to share and talk about together.

Stephano the Squid: Hero of the Deep

Stephano the Squid: Hero of the Deep
Wendy Meddour and Duncan Beedie
Little Tiger

Life for Stefano squid is far from easy. Why is it that the unique characteristics of a squid go unappreciated? That is what Stefano ponders upon.

His fellow deep sea creatures offer reasons relating to his lack of colours, being unbat-like and not being shaped like a hammer …

while the dolphins suggest he should endeavour to look more intelligent; the sea dragon favours looking more leafy and the sea cucumber’s suggestion is to look more vegetable-like.

All the while Stefano is at pains to point out that being a squid makes their suggestions impossible, and when the anglerfish  asks about his weaponry, all the squid can do is to go and hide himself away in a cave.

There he receives some words of comfort from the Sea Cucumber but they are immediately negated by the comments of the limpets.

However, when Sea Cucumber points out one of the diving crew is in trouble, it’s down to Stefano to come to his aid; small and insignificant as he considers himself to be, he just can’t swim away and do nothing.

Rescue mission achieved, or rather,  the little cephalopod and his pal get the surprise of their lives – make that two surprises -when the identity of the rescued diver is revealed; but the second one comes the following day and to discover what that is, you’ll need to get your fins on a copy of this thoroughly immersive book.

Wendy’s telling is great fun but at the same time reminds us of the importance of self-worth and self-belief. Duncan’s terrific undersea scenes are splendidly expressive and comical, and I love his marine colour palette.

There are talking points aplenty once you’ve shared this super splashy story.

Catch Me / Wilfred and Olbert’s Epic Prehistoric Adventure

Catch Me
Anders Arhoj
Chronicle Books

In this double-ended seek-and-find book a long-necked cat, Big Meow and a spotted dog, Little Woof hunt for one another as they dash through eleven, mostly very busy scenes, changing their colour to blend in with each one.

Begin at the front to follow Big Meow’s journey through the pages and to try to catch Little Woof, work backwards. Either way there’s a pre-chase introductory spread introducing the characters.

The search-and-find pages have no words apart from a sign with Japanese symbols in this springtime café scene …

Each one of Arhoj’s incredibly busy, bright digital scenes will likely make the reader linger long after finding Meow and Woof as they enjoy the quirky details be that in the beauty salon, the alley with its shadowy creatures …

the park, the animal show, the cloud based carnival or any of the other zany locations. Each one is rendered in a different colour palette, which ups the challenge and interest levels another notch.

Enormous fun, the entire book is totally immersive; I hate to think how long I spent poring over it. Love those clever die-cut covers, each with its pair of alluring staring eyes; young readers will too.

Wilfred and Olbert’s Epic Prehistoric Adventure
Lomp
Little Tiger

Following their Totally Wild Chase famous explorers Wilfred Wiseman and Olbert Oddbottom are off on another action packed adventure.
While out shopping one afternoon the friends enter a time portal and in so doing find themselves cascading through thousands of years of history and unbelievably all the way back to the beginning of the universe.

Landing in a prehistoric ocean 360 millions years ago they confront among other creatures a Dunkleosteus, and readers are asked to search and see how many trilobites they can find.

From there they make a hasty exit and land up in a swampy forest of the Carboniferous period.

Further retreats into the time portal take them not home but in turn to the Jurassic period when dinosaurs roamed and they have a narrow escape from a Stegosaurus.

Thereafter they enter the Cretaceous period and come upon even more dinosaurs, followed by the Neogene period, the Quaternary ice age where they meet a mammoth as well as encounter some human cave dwellers before leaping once more through the portal and right back home where it’s time for tea, followed they suppose by a well-deserved rest.

But then they look through the window where a big surprise awaits.

My head was certainly spinning after all that, so I’m certain the two friends needed a lot more than a cup of “Earlier Grey’ or ‘Oo-So-Long’ tea to calm them down.

Frenetic, crazy, action-packed and bursting with speech bubbles: search-and-find enthusiasts especially, will quickly be sucked through the portal along with Will and Ollie, taking a considerable time to emerge from this absorbing book. Fortunately the solutions to the puzzles are given inside the back cover along with a message from a nautilus that issues a further challenge to readers.

The One-Stop Story Shop

The One-Stop Story Shop
Tracey Corderoy and Tony Neal
Little Tiger

How many stories can you pack into one? A fair few it seems when Tracey Corderoy is the author and the tale is The One-Stop Story Shop.

Having discovered that the terrible dragon he intended to slay is temporarily absent taking a well-earned break, a knight finds himself sans story.

Luckily he happens upon a helpful neighbour who takes him to the perfect place named in the title where his problem might be solved, thereby placing the fearless knight on a hunt to find an appropriate story.

The shopkeeper however, has sold out of dragons and instead offers a feisty ferret.

By means of an ingenious plot said ferret then acts as foil for a series of one act dramatic misadventures – a space extravaganza, a cowboy yarn, a rumble-in-the-jungle adventure,

and a depths of the ocean journey. Along the way additional characters tag along, notably a space robot and on every occasion it’s down to feisty ferret to save the situation.

Do the knight and his entourage finally emerge safe and sound from all their adventuring?

Most certainly they do, arriving back in the ‘real’ world of the shop just in time to welcome a certain dragon back from his hols. and ready and willing to do battle.

The knight’s response to his offer demonstrates that he’s graduated from ready-made tales, and with his ferrety sidekick and friend, is more than capable of finding his own adventures.

Enormous fun, this foray into the magical world of storytelling is a great read aloud. Tracey’s text is comically illustrated by Tony Neal. Every one of his spreads is packed with giggle inducing details; and who can resist a poop joke?

An absolute winner and a smashing take on the knight vs dragon tale.

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.

A Quiet Quiet House

A Quiet Quiet House
Georgiana Deutsch and Ekaterina Trukhan
Little Tiger

In a quiet little street is a quiet little house. To this house ‘speeding on her scooter’ comes a quiet little mouse. She however is only the first.

One by one a whole host of little mice, each with a different mode of travel turn up and gain admission to the house.

But what is hidden inside the parcel each little mouse carries and what is going on within, behind that red door?
Listeners’ curiosity is aroused right from the start and builds up as each page is turned and another mouse goes through the door.

In all kinds of weather these little mice turn up until the house is no longer a quiet little house, rather it’s bursting with the sounds created by all the tiny noisy mice within.

Delightfully detailed illustrations include on each spread, an animal be that cat, birds, a goldfish even, that offers a comment on the proceedings as they unfold as well as a remark from one of the mice.

At every page turn die-cuts provide small peeks within at the mice capers. Observant little ones will enjoy especially following the activity within the dustbin located just beside the front door;

and assuredly they’ll respond to the final invitation ‘to clap your hands and jiggle to the beat!’

Oops! I may have accidentally revealed the reason why all those little mice are gathered in the house. No it isn’t a party despite the wrapped packages.

The final spread comprises a visual glossary that names the vehicles, colours, the weather and contents of the packages that feature in this fun book. Best shared one-to-one or with a very small group, I suggest so that little ones have an opportunity to explore fully all the lovely details in Ekaterina Trukhan’s illustrations.

Follow Me, Little Fox

Follow Me, Little Fox
Camila Correa and Sean Julian
Little Tiger

A city dweller, Little Fox loves his urban home but occasionally feels overwhelmed by its pace. His mother is eager for him to experience something different; the place where the city ends and the wild begins. “Let’s go back to nature,” she says.

Off they go on a journey away from their den to discover the sights, sounds and smells of the wonderful outdoors.

Yes, at times it can be scary but nature offers a wonderful place to play, to roam and to howl; a place that makes your heart sing.

Unsurprisingly, come nightfall Little Fox is reluctant to leave. He asks to spend the night beneath the stars. Then, having informed him that what he sees are actually the city lights twinkling in the distance, his mother helps him formulate a plan to bring some of the amazing natural world much closer to their home …

… and together they put project transformation into action.

This book is a wonderful reminder of the importance of getting outside into green spaces for our mental and physical wellbeing.

Lyrically written, Camila Correa’s text evokes the wonders of the great outdoors and Sean Julian brings it to life with his beautiful cityscapes and scenes of the natural world.

The Big Angry Roar

The Big Angry Roar
Jonny Lambert
Little Tiger

No matter how mindful we are I’m sure we all feel angry at times, but it’s how we respond to our angry feelings that is crucial.

As the result of a spat between siblings, Jonny Lambert’s Cub is feeling so angry he thinks he might pop.

All the other animals have their own ways to deal with their anger. Zebra and Gnu let theirs out by stamping and stomping; Rhino bashes and crashes; Hippo splatters and splashes but when Cub tries he ends up with an injured paw, an unpleasant aroma and even more anger.

His next encounter is with Elephant’s backside and a furious face off ensues.

Their tooting and roaring precipitates a massive …

Fortunately for all concerned Baboon is on hand ready to offer a lesson in anger management, which does the trick,

leaving Cub with just one more thing to do.

There’s a perfect balance of words and pictures giving the latter plenty of room for maximum impact in every one of Jonny’s eloquent scenes. Cub’s eye views of the animals – a forest of legs and looming bulk – are executed in his signature textured collage style.

The text, punctuated with plenty of onomatopoeia, exclamations, and variations in font size are a gift to readers aloud who enjoy putting on a performance – and who could resist with such a script.

Another must have for your collection from one of my favourite picture book creators.

With Your Paw in Mine

With Your Paw in Mine
Jane Chapman
Little Tiger

Otter pup Miki loves to float snuggled up on her Mama’s tummy but after a swimming lesson she goes off hunting leaving Miki alone safely rolled in seaweed.

As she waits, Miki notices another similar ‘furry parcel’ and paddles across to meet pup Amak who is also waiting for his mother. Acknowledging the loneliness of waiting, Miki suggests holding paws and waiting together.

That becomes a regular occurrence and the two cubs become inseparable.

But one morning a fierce storm blows up and the two friends become separated briefly, manage to re-link paws and even to join up with other otters to form, paw in paw, a raft to weather out the storm

until, joy of joys Miki hears her very favourite voice calling to her.

The author’s message is clear: we all need someone (or perhaps more than one someone) to hold on to in stormy times. Essentially an endearing story of friendship, the book also includes some information about mother otters and their young.

In her chilly acrylic scenes Jane Chapman really captures the vastness of the ocean but at the same time focuses in on the otters and their feelings making this a lovely book to share with individuals or a nursery group.

Shhh! I’m Reading

Shhh! I’m Reading!
John Kelly and Elina Ellis
Little Tiger

I cannot imagine how many times I’ve uttered the title words to people in my time. Now though it’s Bella spending a wet Sunday afternoon engrossed in her book who resents being disturbed.

First to show up is Captain Bluebottom the Flatulent wanting her to join him for a Windy Pirates adventure. He receives a firm refusal.

Next comes Maurice Penguin announcing ‘Showtime’ and tempting her with a sparkly outfit. He too and his entourage are told to sit quietly.

Emperor Flabulon’s challenge receives similar treatment

and finally peace reigns allowing Bella to finish her book. Having declared it the best ever, she then invites the intruders to join her and go adventuring.

Their instant response comes as something of a surprise; or does it? …
Game, set and match to Bella! And to the power of stories, books and the imagination.

John Kelly’s funny tale will resonate with all those who like nothing better than uninterrupted reading time. It’s a smashing read aloud that celebrates the delights of losing oneself in a good book.

Elina Ellis captures both the humour of the chaos caused by the intruders and Bella’s responses to same with terrific brio and  reminds us that, with all good picture books, reading isn’t just about the words.

The Girls

The Girls
Lauren Ace and Jenny Lovlie
Little Tiger

When four little girls meet under an apple tree, little do they know that the friendship they form will over the years, grow and deepen into one that lasts into adulthood.

We follow the four through the good times and the down times,

with the girls sharing secrets, dreams and worries as they grow into women

and by the end readers feel they too share in this friendship so well do they know the foursome.

There’s Lottie the adventurous one; full of ideas, Leela; practical Sasha and Alice, the one who is always able to make them laugh.

We’re really drawn in to this wonderfully elevating account of long-lasting female friendship that Lauren describes and Jenny Lovlie so beautifully illustrates.

Like friends everywhere, these four are totally different in so many ways but no matter what, transcending their differences, is that enduring bond between them symbolised by – what an apt metaphor it is – the growing, changing tree that embodies strength, support and above all, permanence.

Here’s hoping that all the young readers who encounter Lottie, Leela, Sasha and Alice within the pages of this inspiring book will, like those characters, find not only reassurance and emotional strength but the joys of true friendship in their own lives.

The Kiss

The Kiss
Linda Sunderland and Jessica Courtney-Tickle
Little Tiger

Right from Jessica Courtney-Tickle’s inviting cover, this is a superbly uplifting book about one small expression of love and the life-changing consequences such acts of loving kindness can have.

It starts with a kiss blown by young Edwyn to his departing Grandma.

On her journey home, she shows this kiss to a sad-looking old man – with dramatic effects …

and blows him a kiss of her own as her bus leaves.

Walking through the park, she comes upon a woman shouting unkindly at her daughter. Again the sight of Grandma’s kiss has transformative effects –shared laughter between lady and child and an increase in the size of Gran’s kiss.

A surprise in the form of a rich and greedy man desirous of procuring her kiss awaits Grandma as she reaches home. Her refusal to part with it does nothing to deter the man who tries several ploys to get it but Grandma stands firm.

Finally the man resorts to theft and having stolen the kiss he stashes it away, for his eyes only, in a silver cage inside his tower.
Its incarceration has drastic effects on the kiss, on the elements and on the rich man’s mood, so much so that he returns what he’s taken to its rightful owner.

Instead of chastising him, Grandma shows him nothing but kindness, even bestowing upon him a mood-lifting farewell kiss.

I wonder what effects Edwyn’s big hug will have …

Linda Sunderland’s story is such a wonderful demonstration of how much more power for good a small act of kindness such as sharing has, than the grabbing greed of acquisition, as well as that It’s impossible to put a price on simple, heartfelt expressions of love.

Rising star Jessica’s illustrations are totally gorgeous; her delight in the natural world is evident in her vibrant, richly patterned scenes.

Perfectly Polite Penguins

Perfectly Polite Penguins
Georgiana Deutsch and Ekaterina Trukhan
Little Tiger

As this story states at the outset, penguins are ALWAYS perfectly polite. Always? Surely that’s just too good to be true isn’t it?

Certainly most of them have excellent manners but there’s always an exception to the rule; in this case it’s Polly.
Polly penguin finds politeness boring and shows it by her actions.

She butts in when others are speaking, doesn’t think about the feelings of her fellow penguins; is untidy and bad-mannered especially at meal times.

When this lack of politeness infects others in the household, the resulting mayhem upsets Baby Peter so much that he shuts himself away.

Fortunately though Polly knows exactly how to put things right.

Is she now a reformed character? Errr! You know how it is with little humans: so it is with little penguins and perfection would be extremely boring wouldn’t it?

Georgiana Deutsch and Ekaterina Trukhan’s fun demonstration of the importance of appropriate behaviour and consideration of others is great to share with young humans, especially the Pollys among them. I love the bold colour palette Ekaterina uses. Her portrayal of the antics of the penguin waddle as their behaviour deteriorates into penguin pandemonium is splendidly subversive; expect giggles galore.

The Christmas Extravaganza Hotel

The Christmas Extravaganza Hotel
Tracey Corderoy and Tony Neal
Little Tiger

What bear is anticipating as he snuggles up in his favourite chair before a warm fire is a calm cosy Christmas. Suddenly his peace is shattered by a loud horn sounding outside and at his front door he discovers a very excited frog clutching a hotel brochure. The little creature’s map reading skills leave a lot to be desired but kind-hearted Bear can hardly turn his distressed caller away. Instead he invites him in to spend Christmas at his home and then goes to bed worrying that what he has to offer won’t quite live up to the promises of the hotel brochure Frog’s brought with him.

Early next morning Frog can’t wait for the ‘Christmas Extravaganza” to begin.

Instead of the ‘all you can eat North Pole breakfast’ the pair bake biscuits together

and the promised singing Christmas tree is replaced with a huge outdoor one and yes it does sing – or rather the birds therein do.

Best of all though is the stunning sight of the Northern lights that totally eclipses the strings of flashing lights shown on Frog’s brochure.

The two characters, complete opposites in every way end up spending a wonderful time together and the best Christmas gift of all is really not the contents of the large parcel they discover on Christmas morning, rather it’s the friendship forged between the pair.

A lovely demonstration of the true spirit of Christmas; the inherent warmth of Tracey’s seasonal story is underscored in Tony Neal’s scenes of Bear and Frog’s joyful time together.

The Snow Rabbit

The Snow Rabbit
Georgiana Deutsch and Alison Edgson
Little Tiger

Bear is a grumpy creature; he avoids company, resents any intrusions onto his territory and has a growl like no other.

One day however, a jolly little rabbit decides that Bear needs cheering up and builds a snow rabbit close to Bear’s front door.
It doesn’t receive the response the little rabbit was hoping for. Bear’s furious roar shakes the trees resulting in one snow-sodden Bear and a squashed snow rabbit.

Next morning it’s an even grumpier Bear that resolves to discover who the builder was.
He questions his neighbours (love Alison Edgson’s animal expressions as they’re confronted) eventually learning that Rabbit is the culprit and rather surprisingly he demands that the little creature helps him fix the ‘massive mess’.

As the two do so, it appears that Bear might be about to shed his grumps …

Bring on that happy ending.

Little ones will relish the extreme grumpiness of Georgiana Deutsch’s Bear as portrayed by Alison Edgson and especially enjoy following the speech bubbles and changing expressions of the other characters as they watch the events unfolding between the two main players.

Alice’s Wonderland Tea Party

Alice’s Wonderland Tea Party
Poppy Bishop and Laura Brenlla
Little Tiger

Poppy Bishop and Laura Brenlla present a new take on a classic tale.

Welcome to Alice’s tea party. Unlike that thrown by the Mad Hatter, she wants hers to be just perfect. No unexpected shrinking, growing or any other such craziness, just full of sweet things to eat.

As some of her guests sit at the table in comes White Rabbit announcing he indeed, has “something sweet to eat.” His insistence that clocks, especially those sprinkled with sugar and dipped in tea, will be absolutely yummy is met with scorn by the host.

She’s equally unimpressed with Dodo’s upside down cake

and Cheshire Cat’s vanishing pie and she’s certainly not intending to sample any of the tarts proffered by the Knave of Hearts, especially as the Queen of Hearts is hot on his trail.

Tums are all a-rumble when the Last Cook and Duchess arrive with a large plate of chocolate eclairs with a secret ingredient – uh! oh!

Alice’s “This is the silliest tea party ever” comment is bang on; but then Caterpillar turns up clutching cupcakes – something normal at last, thinks Alice settling to the now TERRIBLY ordinary tea party. But …

All our favourite characters are included, (the Cheshire cat is up to his usual vanishing and re-appearing trick as always) wonderfully portrayed by Laura in zesty vintage style. Every scene is sure to make you laugh, and there are flaps and cutaways to add to the enjoyment.

I’d definitely accept Alice’s invitation inside the front cover; this interactive experience is great fun.

The Space Train

The Space Train
Maudie Powell-Tuck and Karl James Mountford
Little Tiger

Light years from Earth in a space station live Jakob, his robot chicken named Derek and his granny.

Jakob has made a discovery: in hangar 19 is, so he thinks, a huge abandoned rocket.
Granny knows otherwise. “It’s the Space Train,” she tells her grandson … “When I was little, the Space Train criss-crossed the universe on tracks of stardust visiting station after station –“.

Jakob’s excitement mounts as he thinks about all the places they might visit and potential friends he could discover if they fixed the train.

After a week of hard work,

riveting, welding, fixing and cleaning the train was finally ready. Tomorrow they would launch it.
Next morning however didn’t quite go to plan. A resounding BANG and sooty faces were the only outcomes when Jakob pulls the launch lever.

Jakob and Derek are ready to give up: not so Granny, so it’s back to look at the plans again.

Soon, they’re ready to give it another go and this time …

With its space setting, quirky characters, problem-solving, a plethora of flaps to explore as well as Jakob’s logs to study, this unusual story should please young readers, especially those with a liking for things mechanical. Karl’s zany, illustrations are packed with other-worldly paraphernalia, mechanical bits and pieces and the occasional alien. Love the colour palette and the nuts and bolts laying Derek.

Itchy Scritchy Scratchy Pants

Itchy Scritchy Scratchy Pants
Steve Smallman and Elina Ellis
Little Tiger

Stories about pants are always popular with young children but what about itchy scritchy scratchy ones like those of the title? They don’t sound a very inviting prospect at all but don’t be put off; this bum-tickling rhyming tale is terrific fun.
It features a gang of five Vikings who are suffering from chilly nether regions on account of their participation in a fight resulting in the destruction of their bum-covering undergarments.
Time for some new knickers they decide and head to the appropriate shop wherein they locate, not the desired knickers but a knitter of same.
She’s sold right out and is unable to meet their request unless they can provide a new supply of wool.

This means yet another quest- a very bleak and chillsome one – for the hardy crew.

Off they set to track down the famous and mysterious yeti from whose wool she can fulfil their knicker order with the warmest ever pants.

It’s certainly an action-packed, hair-raising adventure.

Off the wall – or rather – off the bum – craziness, both visual and verbal will assuredly have enormous appeal for children who will especially love the notion of yeti fleas feasting upon the nether regions of that Viking crew. YEOUCH! Not what anyone wants from their eagerly anticipated new underwear.

Smashing end papers, smashingly silly story and hilarious scenes of Viking shenanigans: Steve and Elina have done a great job to tickle the fancy of young listeners.

Where Happiness Lives / One Day So Many Ways

Where Happiness Lives
Barry Timms and Greg Abbott
Little Tiger

What is your idea of a perfect house; perhaps it’s similar to one of the three we visit courtesy of their mouse owners each of which thinks they have the perfect home, to begin with that is.

First off we visit Grey Mouse’s residence: it’s just the right size for him and his family and it’s built in the shade of a wonderful oak tree. In short, it’s just perfect.

 

But then out walking one day, he comes upon an impressive-looking residence with a balcony belonging to White Mouse. What more could any mouse want, thinks Grey Mouse. But he’s soon to find out, for his new acquaintance too has his sights set on a bigger, better residence.

Together the two set off to climb the mountain whereon this amazing place is to be found. Herein lives Brown Mouse who is quick to invite her visitors in for a guided tour of her luxurious home.

A surprise is in store though, for Brown Mouse has a telescope and what she shows her visitors through its lens causes them to stop and rethink the whole notion of home and contentment.

Greg Abbott’s mice are truly enchanting and there’s a plethora of cutaways and flaps to explore and delight little ones in the splendid illustrations that accompany Barry Timms’ engaging, gentle rhyming narrative.

One Day So Many Ways
Laura Hall and Loris Lora
Lincoln Children’s Books

None of us adults spends their day in exactly the same way and so it is with children and the latter is the focus of Laura Hall and Loris Lora’s splendidly diverse close up on the lives of some 40 children from different parts of the world over 24 hours. Readers will be able to compare and contrast as they follow the youngsters as they wake up in their various homes, have breakfast and go to school.

We watch them as they learn, play, get together with friends, enjoy quiet times;

eat lunch, engage in sports, participate in creative activities and more.

After school there’s the inevitable homework for many; but there’s also time to spend with the family; time to read, to sleep and to dream.

Every spread in this lightning world tour focuses on a different aspect of the day with bright engaging artwork and brief descriptions. It’s a great book for opening up discussion among primary children and enormous fun to pore over particularly with another person.
Good to have on a family bookshelf or in your classroom library; either way it’s engaging and delivered with style.

Octopants

Octopants
Suzy Senior and Claire Powell
Little Tiger

This crazy rhyming tale is narrated by an octopus, an underpantless octopus no less.

His lack of a bottom covering makes him the butt of jokes and derision on the part of the other undersea creatures, most especially when he goes to town to try and buy himself some suitable octopants.

On-line shopping proves equally fruitless or rather, pantless.

One day however, our pant-hunter comes upon a hitherto unknown establishment, going by the name of Under-Sea Emporium and run by a rather smart seahorse sporting a spotty bow tie.

The place seems to sell pretty much any garment you might imagine and many you can’t, from evening wear for eels to jewellery for jellyfish and water wings for whales, in various spotty, stripy, sparkly and decidedly funky fabrics.
But as for underpants for an octopus customer, that is quite another matter altogether.

So exactly what can an eight-legged, or could it be eight armed, marine animal wear instead?

The big reveal (not a big bum reveal) comes on the final spread …

Bubbling and bursting with playful alliteration, Suzy Senior’s suitably silly story is likely to have young listeners pinging their knicker elastic with wriggling giggles, while Claire Powell’s funky undersea scenes of pant-wearing, and would-be same, seawater creatures should make sure that mirth is multiplied.

Almost any story with pants seems to induce a similarly snickering response but this one has a terrific twisting finale.

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