A Moose on the Loose & Some Monsters

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There’s a Moose on the Loose
Lucy Feather and Stephan Lomp
Nosy Crow
When Moose leaves his rural residence and heads for the big city, it’s not long before everyone therein knows there’s a MOOSE ON THE LOOSE. First port of call is the fire station through which he dashes, catching a fireman’s bucket on his antler as he goes. From there he visits a department store full of shoppers where he adds a wellie boot to the bucket on his antler and a shop assistant joins the fireman in the chase.
Imagine the mayhem a loose moose in a busy library can cause, especially when there are several book-filled floors but our moose isn’t hanging about here, particularly as he’s somehow managed to add a dictionary to the items attached to his antlers and now the librarian too is in hot pursuit. There’s no stopping our moose though as he dashes on, galloping madly through the museum, speeding through the supermarket, hurtling through the hospital, careering through the castle, sploshing through the swimming pool …

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sprinting through the school collecting all manner of objects upon those antlers and increasing the number of pursuers at each location. Then, he goes bounding through an apartment block …

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and up onto its roof where it seems his presence, though not that of all his pursuers, is awaited. Oh NO! Now it looks as if our rampaging moose has forgotten something; he certainly doesn’t seem full of the party spirit …

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Uh-oh – there he goes again …

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My readers were immediately sucked in to the action and eagerly dashed through the book following the footsteps of moose and then immediately turned back to the beginning and spent a considerable time exploring each detailed, action-packed spread. It’s absolutely full of comic scenarios such as the elephant having a hair do, the music lover in the library …

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and the impending trolley disaster on the supermarket ramp and if you are looking for a book that generates interactive talk between young children, then this one is definitely a good bet.
It has all kinds of potential in the classroom; for mapping, counting, positional vocabulary and more but most important, it’s enormously entertaining. I had to beg my copy back out of the hands of a group of enthusiastic children, and that surely speaks for itself.

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Monster & Son
David Larochelle and Joey Chou
Chronicle Books
We share in fun and games monster style as all manner of dads and their offspring engage in such activities as throw and catch …

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chase and tag, tickling, fishing, making music …

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building a hideout, telling jokes, piggy back riding and occasionally pausing for a snack.
These are the daytime activities of the mock-scary creatures –ghosts, ghouls, yetis, werewolves, dragons and the like – that inhabit this book. When the night comes and the moon shines bright, it’s no surprise to discover that their bedtime rituals are pretty much the same as those of humans – filled with love and gentleness – ahhhh!
In addition to the innocent-sounding rhyming narrative running through the book, there are stories aplenty to be found in Joey Chou’s digital illustrations rendered in suitably subdued hues. Indeed, it’s the mismatch between what is said and what is seen that is key here: The dragon laughter is such that it sets a castle blazing; the snack being gorged on is a car, the occupants of which look on helplessly …

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and the sea serpents’ ball game is causing boats to founder and capsize.

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On the Way to School & Follow that Car

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School
Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud
Chronicle Books
If the boy in this hilarious story came into my class with such outlandish excuses for his lateness, and in such profusion, I’d want to celebrate his imagination and award him first prize for creativity. His whole sorry saga is pretty much out of this world, as we are presented with such scenarios as the first “some giant ants stole my breakfast ” through increasingly hilariously, surreal situations such as …

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via a whole gamut of fairy tale meanderings,

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mad cap misadventures and flights of fancy, before our young hero arrives at the school gate, But even then he is forced to travel (ably or not so ably assisted by his uncle’s time machine) back home to pick up his forgotten packpack, only to be confronted when he does make it to his classroom, by his disbelieving teacher who seemingly, is having none of it.

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As the illustrator’s name might imply, this book is hot stuff – sorry about the pun. Those scenes of his are real rib-ticklers and Davide Cali’s droll delivery of the boy’s journey equally so.
A small book indeed; but one that packs a powerful punch.

Slightly less crazy but also involving a journey and food (oh! maybe forget that last bit) is:

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Follow That Car
Lucy Feather and Stephan Lomp
Nosy Crow
Hey, you … yes you!
Mouse needs your help and he needs it now!
He needs to catch Gorilla and he needs to be super-quick!
Are you ready? Then let’s go!
   FOLLOW THAT CAR!
An immediate engagement tactic that and one I doubt many young children would be able to resist.
Off speeds chunky Gorilla in his small car with Mouse on his mo-bike in hot pursuit. But what is the purpose of the chase? Has Gorilla stolen something? is the first thought, but we don’t find out (unless like this reviewer you cheat and read the ending before engaging in the chase. Not something I allowed my group of mixed infants to do, however – not knowing is really part and parcel of the fun.)
So off we go along with Mouse as he manoueveres around that sheet of glass and through the busy streets… past the building site where Gorilla completes a dare-devil stunt… down the car park ramp… over the fly-over towards the railway station. Oh no! Gorilla’s got through but Mouse is stuck at the crossing gate.

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Good job we saw that tunnel, so it’s on towards the farm taking care to avoid any tractors and oh my goodness! now comes a busy market and Gorilla’s drawing further away… and surely those cannot be mountains up ahead? But yes, and a ski resort;

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the end must be nigh…not quite yet though. First there’s a lakeside traffic jam to negotiate. Thank goodness then that Gorilla has to stop to refuel and that’s where we (and Mouse) catch up with him and …

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Off speeds Mouse but – hang on a minute: now why is Gorilla chasing after him?
Well, why should I spoil it for you– you’ll have to get hold of a copy of this fun-filled, action-packed book and find out for yourself.

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