Animal Scramble / Space Puzzles

Animal Scramble
Lucy Volpin
Templar Publishing

Whether it’s counting the curly haired among the crowd of camels in the camp, or searching for the five different fruits in the clutches of the acrobatic apes, youngsters will surely enjoy honing their observation skills as they peruse each and every one of Lucy Volpin’s, wonderfully droll, enormously engaging animal scenes created with coloured pencils.

Each of the spreads has an alliterative title and presents an immersive display of animals, (either large or small) that provides such fun possibilities as ‘Playing with Penguins’, ‘Building with Beetles’ ‘Flipping with Frogs’ – my favourite I think,

or, ‘Swimming with Sharks’ – perhaps not!

There’s an introductory factual paragraph and on the opposite page some thought-provoking questions that invite readers to search for objects – a square fish for instance, count, or perhaps ponder upon their own opinions in relation to say ‘which hairstyle would you like?’ on the ‘Acrobatics with Apes’ spread; or “Who do you think is leader of the pack?’ from this one …

Playfulness abounds throughout and the book concludes with a handful of additional questions to consider.

Assuredly a spotting book that merits revisiting over and over, and one that offers an absolute wealth of language potential if a small group of children look at it together.

Space Puzzles
Highlights for Children

In this bumper book of more than 100 cosmological settings, children have to search for over 1800 objects hidden in scenes ranging from a space race to an alien encounter, and a trip on a space scooter to a classroom in orbit.

Each puzzle page contains all manner of likely and unlikely items hidden in plain sight for the eagle-eyed to find, each of which has a visual prompt in the surrounding border. (Answers supplied at the back of the book in case you’re stuck.)

In these black and white puzzles there are moonstruck bears, aliens visiting a drive-in restaurant, a host of animal star gazers and a stellar souvenir shop to stop off at in the space museum to name just a few.

Hours of immersive enjoyment, especially for space lovers (that’s an awful lot of children) who will have fun sharpening their observation skills as well as their concentration: just what’s needed during holidays when you can’t get outdoors.

My Museum / Crocodali

My Museum
Joanne Liu
Prestel
Here’s a thoroughly cool little wordless book by Joanne Liu, an illustrator/artist I’ve not come across before.
Max pays a visit to an art museum. It’s full of paintings and sculptures, each one an important work of art. Where better to go for a bit of art appreciation?
Max however, wonderfully divergent and imaginative child that he is, quickly discovers that there’s a whole lot more to see and enjoy than what the curators have put on display.
Art is everywhere, if you know how to look; and if you know how to look, you can also be a creative artist. That’s the message that shines through in each and every action of our young protagonist as he wanders among the grown-ups who are absorbed in the various exhibits, discovering art through the windows, on a burly man’s arm,

by changing his viewpoint, and by seeing the potential in other unlikely places …

He even explores ways of making his own …

A delight through and through.

Crocodali
Lucy Volpin
Templar Publishing
There’s a touch of Hervé Tullet in Lucy Volpin’s latest story. It stars Crocodali, who greets us, more than a little reluctantly, as we enter his studio.
The self-confessed ‘most talented artist in the whole wide world’ is about to start on a new painting but is having a little bother getting his canvas positioned. That’s when he decides to enlist the reader’s help.
Before you can say ‘masterpiece’ he has us tilting, tipping, shaking …

and rubbing and even blowing on the book,

as we become co-creators of his latest work of art. It’s bound to be stupendous; or is it?
Engaging, interactive, humorous and delightfully messy.

We Love Dinosaurs / Touch & Explore Dinosaurs

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We Love Dinosaurs
Lucy Volpin
Nosy Crow
Debut picture book artist, Lucy Volpin celebrates her passion for dinosaurs with a rhyming litany to these extinct creatures be they tall or small, fleet of foot or plodders, herbivores or carnivores, those with enormous roars or snuffly snores …

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No matter whether they are spiny, spikey or something other,

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these are probably some of the most talked about, most loved by children, of all animals ever.
Rendered in watercolour and pencil, the dinosaurs herein are sure to delight young addicts and should also create some new enthusiasts among pre-schoolers who will enjoy pointing out their various attributes and finding the descriptive words in the brief text.

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Indeed slightly older children will likely want to have a go at reading the whole thing for themselves once they’ve heard it read aloud a couple of times.

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Touch & Explore Dinosaurs
Illustrated by Ninie
Twirl Books
Dinosaur loving seems to start at a very early age and here’s a board book catering for pre-schoolers who can explore its contents and enjoy a multisensory experience by using their fingers (to feel the numerous textures inset into the die-cut shapes of various parts of the dinosaurs’ anatomies) – even the title is touchy-feely; by looking closely at the details in some of the illustrations or merely, by enjoying the bright colours of these little beauties;

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(I like the playful hues used here accompanying the ‘… today no one knows what colours our skins were.’) and perhaps even creating ROARS and dinosaur shapes with their own bodies.
They can also find out about the smallest known dinosaurs,

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learn something about dinosaur diet, how dinosaurs reproduced, how they came to an end, as well as meeting one or two species close up: Diplodocus the gentle giant – (did you know this plant eater was larger than three elephants?); Triceratops with its frilled neck and small-headed Stegosaurus, and Microraptor with large wings that were used for gliding.
There’s a fair bit of information embedded in this book, much of which will be absorbed with little effort by those ‘littles’ who peruse its pages Did you know a Maiasaurus makes a small crater in which to lay its eggs? I certainly didn’t.
First person, direct language is used to convey the facts so that it appears readers are being addressed by the various dinosaurs, adding to the fun. And Ninie’s digitally rendered artwork with those die-cut touchy-feely bodies almost jumps off the pages. It’s fortunate this board book is sturdily bound to stand up to the heavy handling it’s likely to receive from enthusiastic early years readers.

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