Car, Car, Truck, Jeep and Old MacDonald Had a Boat

Car, Car, Truck, Jeep
Katrina Charman and Nick Sharratt
Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Now here’s a cool idea: new author Katrina Charman has based her upbeat rhyming romp on the rhythm of ‘Baa baa black sheep’, and I’m guessing the playful notion of the strategically placed black sheep passenger on one of the trucks was Nick’s.

So let’s get going on our journey through this vehicular extravaganza, but first we need to make sure that those fuel tanks are full …

Now let the journey begin and see how many different things with wheels, not to mention rotors and sails, we can spy on our travels through the pages.
All that honking, beeping, zooming, chugga chugga choo-ing, flicka flacking, rumbling and scraping, vrooming, screeching and more is pretty tiring, especially when it’s kept up throughout the whole day.
So, come nightfall it’s more than time to head home for some shut-eye …

A terrific, rhythmic read aloud that’s packed full of wonderful sounds to let rip with, in combination with Nick Sharratt’s characteristic cartoon bright illustrations, (love that bus ad.)  this is surely any pre-schooler’s idea of picture book wonderland.

Old MacDonald Had a Boat
Steve Goetz and Eda Kaban
Chronicle Books

First we met the MacDonalds and all their animals with their truck and now they’re back in a new story, truck and all. As the story starts the truck has just drawn up near the barn and it’s pulling an old boat.
Then it’s time for Old Macdonald to set to work. Out come his tools. First it’s a buzz saw with a ‘BUZZ BUZZ here and a BUZZ BUZZ there.’
That’s followed by some hammering

though perhaps the pigs have a better aim that the farmer himself when they BANG BANG in those nails.

Gradually things take shape, then out come the blowtorches, the sanders and finally the paint rollers.

As evening falls their craft is launched and it’s time for a spot of water ski-ing.

Once you’ve had a couple of sing-alongs of Goetz’s text with the book, you’ll likely want to go back and take time over Eda Kaban’s expansive, brightly coloured spreads; of the farmyard crew enjoying themselves together and working together as a team. They’re full of detail and humorous touches.

You Choose in Space / Ludwig the Sea Dog

You Choose In Space
Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart
Puffin Books

The You Choose series just gets better and better: now young children can whizz off on countless journeys of discovery in the pitch black of outer space. They can choose their jobs aboard the space-craft; select some snazzy gear to wear; there’s a weird and wonderful assortment of potential friends to get to know;

a whole different diet to sample and much more.
The great thing- or one of them –is, there’s a seemingly limitless choice of possibilities, so that with each blast off, a whole new out-of-this-world story can unfold in glorious technicolour.
The Sharratt/Goodhart team truly have conjured up an inclusive and wonderfully interactive, treat for young space enthusiasts, as well as those who like to be in the driving seat when it comes to a story.

Ludwig the Sea Dog
Henning Lōhlein
Templar Publishing

In this, the second adventure of Ludwig and his friends, the dog receives from his pal, Peter the penguin, whose submarine has broken down, a postcard requesting his assistance.
How on earth or under sea, for that’s where Peter is stuck – is a book-dwelling dog supposed to go to the aid of a friend beneath the ocean?
There are of course, plenty of books to tell him about marine life but these don’t prove as helpful as Ludwig anticipates.

He has to be rescued, and then discovers that water is not his favourite medium.
Perhaps he’ll have better luck with a spot of fairy tale magic, courtesy of the book he’s left in to dry out;

that and of course, some further assistance from his friends.
I’ll say no more other than to recommend that you open the envelope at the front of the book, put on those 3D sea goggles and prepare yourself for an amazing underwater experience. There’s even a fold out spread to explore.

The Dressing-Up Dad / Little Monster’s Day Out with Dad

The Dressing-Up Dad
Maudie Smith and Paul Howard
Oxford University Press
I’m sure most children are embarrassed by their parents from time to time: I suspect the boy in this funny story with its being yourself no matter what theme, feels increasingly that way as he gets older.
Danny’s Dad, like his son just loves to dress-up: I don’t mean in his favourite gear say, his best jeans and T-shirt. Oh no! Danny’s Dad really gets into the swing of the young lad’s fantasy play, donning whatever costume he deems appropriate for the situation in hand. He might become a space rocket, a fearsome dragon;

a wizard at the library, or a snow bear; and at Danny’s themed birthday parties, you can guess who was the most dreadful dinosaur or the dastardliest of pirates …

As Danny’s next birthday approaches, Dad contemplates his attire: should he perhaps be a ladybird, a dragonfly; there are plenty of bugs to choose from. Danny however, has other ideas for his Dad this year. And yes, he does look pretty cool as an ‘ordinary everyday’ dad but can he resist the invitation of Danny’s pals who have decided they want to be chased by a giant caterpillar. I wonder …

There’s a dilemma at the heart of this story and it’s evident in the body language and facial expressions of Danny’s Dad at the party. He’s doing his level best to enjoy being the perfect ordinary father when inside he’s torn: what he really wants is to don a costume and be a bug too; but how can he please himself and at the same time please his son? Paul Howard portrays all this and much more so adeptly in his enchanting illustrations. The presence of Danny’s lively dog wanting in on all the action and managing to creep in to almost every scene adds to the visual enjoyment of Maudie Smith’s captivating story.

Little Monster’s Day Out with Dad
Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt
Egmont
Little Monster is excited at the prospect of a day trip to the fair with his dad, despite the fact that they’re going by car rather than train: that at least is the intention. No sooner on the road though than they’re held up in a traffic jam; when the car breaks down en route, after which the rescue truck gets a flat tyre, one begins to wonder whether they’ll ever reach their destination at all. Thank goodness then, for the bus: and there’s room for all aboard.

Finally they arrive at the fair ground and it seems as though Little Monster might be going to get his longed-for train ride after all …

With its funny, suitably garish Sharratt scenes with their plethora of flaps to lift, large print and sturdy pages, this will please most little monsters about the age of the chief protagonist herein.

I’ve signed the charter  

Toddler Christmas Books

DSCN5932 (800x600)

Santa’s Reindeer
Tom Duxbury, Matilda Tristram and Nick Sharratt
Walker Books
Over-peppering of his pre-delivery supper soup by Santa causes extreme nasal irritation of Reindeer and …

DSCN5933 (800x600)

ATCHOOO!

But can they retrieve it in time to deliver the presents when Polar Bear wants it to button up his his onesie, Robin thinks it might be a tree decoration, Seal needs it to practice tricks for the Christmas show, sending it flying into Arctic Fox’s stocking

DSCN5934 (800x600)

and when he empties it out, the nose vanishes. Hold on though, what’s that in Penguin’s fruit salad?

DSCN5935 (800x600)

Could it possibly be …
A fun idea, hilariously captured in Nick Sharratt’s suitably silly seasonal scenes, complete with a squeaky nose. What better novelty for a Christmas Eve romp?

DSCN5936 (800x600)

Is It Christmas Yet?
Jane Chapman
Little Tiger Press
This is a lovely, squashy-covered board book version of Jane Chapman’s jolly tale.
Young Ted is beside himself with excitement charging round the house yelling.
Is it Christmas yet?” he repeatedly asks Big Bear who is getting to the end of his tether at the frequent question.

DSCN5937 (800x600)

However, the preparations continue at a pace – a slow one – as they work together wrapping presents, search for a suitable tree – easier said than done resulting in a very tearful Ted.

DSCN5939 (800x600)

But happily, team work fixes the problem and finally Big Bear carries his exhausted little one up to bed as it is at last very, very nearly CHRISTMAS!
With a decidedly upbeat text full of delicious words (HEAVED, HUFFED, PULLED, PUFFED and “TOO SPIKY…” “TOO THIN…“)

DSCN5940 (800x600)

and sounds (zzzzzzzzzzzzpft! SNAP!, NOOOOOOO!) to join in and perhaps act out), this is perfect for sharing with over-excited toddlers, (especially those who keep asking the same question as Ted) as Christmas draws ever closer. Adults will surely recognize the feelings portrayed by Big Bear in the deliciously humorous illustrations; and it’s good to see a single Dad coping so well with the high spirits of Ted.

DSCN5910 (800x600)

Bizzy Bear Christmas Helper
Benji Davies
Nosy Crow
A seasonal board book offering featuring the popular Bizzy Bear who herein, has been enlisted to aid and abet Father Christmas, First he has to help in the workshop, then there’s the sleigh to be packed, after which it’s ‘up and away!’ delivering toys to all the sleeping animals.

DSCN5911 (800x600)

With the usual ingredients: brief rhyming text, jolly pictures and sliders to push and pull plus the added festive fun, this is just the thing to share with the very youngest during the run up to Christmas.

DSCN6006

Jingle Bells
James Lord Pierpont and Pauline Seiwert
Walker Books
This is a sturdily built rendition of the seasonal favourite song with teddies riding the sleigh pulled by a pony, with rabbits bounding along beside, badgers greeting them as they slow down; and a whole host of other woodland creatures joining them as they sing and sleigh slowly towards the candle-lit Christmas tree where they look skywards and see another sleigh pulled by reindeers …

DSCN6009

If that’s not enough to captivate the very young, then there’s a button to press and they can sing along with the music.

DSCN5948 (800x600)

This Little Piggy Went Singing
Margaret Wild and Deborah Niland
Allen & Unwin
In their follow-up to the delightful This Little Piggy Went Dancing, the highly regarded Australian picture book creators Wild and Niland come up with a Christmas sequel. Herein, the super-cute five little piggies are busy with their seasonal preparations. They sing and make music, shop, create …

DSCN5949 (800x600)

and post cards and party.
There are candy canes …

DSCN5951 (800x600)

and cakes (of the fishy variety), baubles and bedtime stories, not to mention plum pudding, and pineapple, gingerbread and more …
In ten verses Margaret Wild offers musical alternatives to the ‘wee-wee-wee’ with more upbeat ‘vroom vrooms’, ‘plink, plonk, plunks, ratta-tat-tats, jingle-jingle-jingles’ … and a final

DSCN5952 (800x600)

… all the way home.
Do join those porcine frolics so cleverly rotated so that a different piggy has none each time, in Deborah Niland’s lively, playful , action-packed pictures. And look out for that mouse friend who makes his presence well and truly felt in every spread.
Seasonal enchantment for the very young (and those who read or sing it aloud to them).

Use your local bookshop     localbookshops_NameImage-2

 

An Unaware Jackdaw and A Nautical Mouse

DSCN4497 (800x600)

What the Jackdaw Saw
Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt
Macmillan Children’s Books
Jackdaw flies over the ocean, the farm, the town, and a forest towards a looming black cloud, issuing his invitation “Come to my party!” to all and sundry, ignoring the warning signs from octopus, horse, cat, and squirrel until he whizzes headlong into the thundercloud and thence …

 

DSCN4587 (800x600)

Why didn’t they warn me?” he asks the owl. “Why didn’t you see them?” comes the reply, … Every one of them touching its head, Danger! Danger! That’s what they said.”

DSCN4499 (800x600)

Time for a lesson in signing for that heedless jackdaw, courtesy of owl of course and then hurray, jackdaw flies forth using his wings to sign “Come to my party!” to all his animal pals. Then off they all got to he seaside where a fantastic time is had by all those animals and just a few other guests too …

DSCN4588 (800x600)

Nick Sharratt’s powerful, expressive spreads capture the scenes of impending disaster, and the joyful exuberance of the jaunty tale with great aplomb.
After you’ve enjoyed the story, don’t miss the opportunity to practise signing some of the key words from the book; eight of them are found on the final spread.
Two years in the making, this book is the result of the author’s workshop (organized by Life and Deaf) for deaf children -20 are named – and of course, her collaboration with artist, Nick. What an ingenious and brilliantly inclusive book it is; and what a wonderful testament to the power of sign language and all who use it including finally, that jackdaw.

DSCN4507 (800x600)

The Mouse Who Sailed the Seas
Amy Sparkes and Nick East
Egmont Publishing pbk
The sight of those chunky bumblebees perching tenuously atop their beehive immediately appealed to my sense of the ridiculous when I turned from the introductory ‘A mouse he went to sail the seas. He sailed the seas/to look for cheese,/But all he found were …

DSCN4508 (800x600)

The jaunty story continues with an invasion of purple peas of the alien variety,

DSCN4509 (800x600)

a drop in from a pair of hairy-kneed goats and some magic-sneezing elves. Surely disaster must be close at hand with such a load methinks and … CREAK! SQUEAK! LEAK! Oh dear me.

DSCN4510 (800x600)

But, could that concatenation triggered by a timely sneeze from the elves work its magic and save the day? Well, you will just have to get hold of this wonderfully madcap tale to find out that and to discover whether our intrepid sailor mouse finally does find the object of his cheesy search. Assuredly, it’s pretty nail- biting stuff.
Nick East’s exuberant and garish illustrations are brimming over with delicious touches of completely crazy detail – just the thing to complement Amy Sparkes’ super and stupendously silly saga.

Use your local bookshop localbookshops_NameImage-2

Christmas Books for the very youngest

rainbow 009 (800x600)

Five Christmas Penguins
Steve Lenton
Little Tiger Press
There’s fun and frolics penguin style in this jolly rhyming counting book wherein the polar pals prepare for the big day, wrapping, decorating, singing, baking and finally wishing “Merry Christmas, everyone!
A sturdy seasonal board book for the very youngest: with simple, gently humorous images, illustrated in bold, bright colours.
Buy from Amazon

santa 1

Santa’s Beard
Matilda Tristram, Tom Duxbury and Nick Sharratt
Walker Books
Santa complains that his fluffy beard is making him feel hot and bothered one summer’s day, so the offending article takes flight in search of a more congenial face.

santa 2

However, none of its temporary hosts is at all interested. What’s an unwanted beard to do far from home and with the snow starting to fall? Luckily, said beard decides to stop for a rest and finds himself hurtling straight towards a large red rear end protruding from the snow. A red rump that just happens to belong to none other than his original owner, Santa, who is more than happy to have his old chin warmer back, just in time for that chilly present delivery.
Sharratt’s characteristic brightly coloured, bold images thickly outlined in black are immediately attractive to young children who will enjoy moving the snow-white beard onto the various characters: I suspect it will quickly become a rather mucky beard.
Buy from Amazon

rainbow 008 (800x600)

Jolly Snowmen
text by Annette Rusling
Caterpillar Books
Toddlers can enjoy joining in a chilly countdown as five little snowmen engage in a snowball fight, four go sledging, three try ice-skating – oops one falls through the ice, leaving two to go trekking till a polar bear scares off one, and the final one? He has to go searching for his friends for a Christmas ‘Snow Ball”. Anyone for a dance?
Tactile, rhyming fun, with cheery seasonal colours.
Buy from Amazon

Use your local bookshop: http://www.booksellers.org.uk/bookshopsearch