Ceri & Deri: The Treasure Map / Ceri & Deri: Build a Birdhouse

Ceri & Deri: The Treasure Map
Ceri & Deri: Build a Birdhouse

Max Low
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These are the latest titles featuring best friends Deri the Dog and Ceri the cat that introduce young children to specific concepts/skills through fun stories. (Here it’s orientation and design.)

The Treasure Map in the former is an old one that once belonged to Ceri’s nan, an erstwhile pirate, so the stripy feline claims. Ceri’s story of said nan sailing the high seas inspires Deri and the two set off excitedly, map in paws, to find treasure.

En route they are joined by the equally enthusiastic Gardener Glesni, Owain the Optician and Farmer Ffion who are more than willing to leave their respective allotment, spectacle selling, and vegetables to join the search.

Eventually the map leads them within smelling distance of the sea.

But is that treasure buried on the sandy beach as they’d been led to believe by the X, and if so just what will they discover when they dig?

The Bird House tells how the friends come upon a curious little bird while out walking together in town. Clearly it cannot remain on Deri’s head so the two decide to build it a house.

They think carefully about the design – a hallway with telephone for making ‘bird calls’ and ‘a place for all its shoes,” they decide; a kitchen with a plethora of bird seed, flowers, a sink; a balloon-filled dining room , amazing tree-patterned wallpaper, a record player (for listening to bird songs) a bathroom complete with bird bath entered by waterslide

and (obviously) a wave machine. The friends get even more carried away with their elaborate plans; but, tools and materials assembled, can they actually put them into action: I wonder?

This one made me laugh out loud a couple of times, it’s so sweetly silly and I’m happy to report that despite Ceri’s feline-ness, the bird has found two new friends.

If you’re yet to meet Ceri and Deri, I suggest you start here. The friends are a delight and Max Low’s stories are full of charm and engagingly illustrated.

They Didn’t Teach THIS in Worm School!

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They Didn’t Teach THIS in Worm School
Simone Lia
Walker Books
Observer and Guardian cartoonist Simone Lia has created a cracking story featuring Marcus – a splendidly resourceful worm, and Laurence, a bird who looks like a chicken but is convinced that he’s a flamingo. An unlikely pairing you might be thinking.
Their initial meeting is decidedly iffy but Marcus manages to convince Laurence that making a slurpy spaghetti-like breakfast of him isn’t the best plan. In response to the worm’s “Are you going to eat me for breakfast?” Laurence replies, “Probably not … It feels funny eating you … now that we’ve had a conversation.” (The bird, by the way, is determined to fly all the way to Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya – his true home, so he thinks – but his map reading skills leave more than a little to be desired.)
After some more chat, a deal is struck. Marcus, with his “funny ideas and marvellous sense of direction” is to act as navigator for the journey and the two of them, having made some preparations, and Marcus has made plans to inform his relations …

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the two appear to be ready – or maybe not quite yet. It looks as though Laurence has rather overdone his packing  …

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Several hours later, with unpacking done and plumbing works re-connected, Marcus is safely (and comfortably) installed in a very soft spot in Laurence’s plumage, they’re on their way heading supposedly in the first instance for Paris.
After a while “lost” might be the best description of where they are but then, having glanced at the cover of his pal’s French guidebook, Marcus identifies The Eiffel Tower …

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Panic over – albeit temporarily.
I could continue telling you what happens but suffice it to say all manner of near tragedies and ‘stewish’ shenanigans occur until eventually it seems they’ve reached their ultimate destination; but have they?

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There are certainly flamingos; but we’re still 50 odd pages short of the end of this hilarious saga so I’ll leave you to make up your own minds and just add that this is a laugh out-loud read, full of wonderfully funny illustrations … and a must read for anyone from around seven especially those with a sense of adventure.

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