Now You See Me, Now You Don’t
Patricia Hegarty and Jonny Lambert
The chameleon narrator of this rhyming story is a trickster and proud so to be. There’s nothing the creature likes better than to use its ability to change colour to have fun at the expense of the other jungle dwelling animals as it teases first elephant, then orang-utan, followed by a pair of toucans and a sloth.
Not only that, but playing the colour switch trick is also a great way to avoid chores, evade bedtime or help yourself to another creature’s tasty meal.
However, Chameleon’s tickling of Sloth triggers a chain reaction that has the potential to end unhappily for Anteater;
but hidden away watching events is Frog.
Instead of the praise Chameleon anticipates from the creature, Frog strikes back
and then hastily merges back into the surroundings leaving Chameleon to show contrition, fess up, apologise to all the other animals and promise to end his mischief.
Peace is restored to the jungle – well most of the time. Perhaps changing one’s colour is less easy than changing one’s ways …
Jonny’s vibrant collage style illustrations set against stark white backgrounds immediately grab the attention drawing the eye into the action and there are myriads of minibeasts to spot too.
Purists might baulk at the inhabitants of the fictional jungle, which hail from both the new and the old worlds. Nevertheless it’s a visual and verbal treat that provides an opportunity to talk about the kind of behaviour Chameleon exhibited.
Now You See Me, Now You Don’t
Two more brilliantly playful titles in the minibombo series:
In the first we start with a line up of animals, large and small –
after which two at a time they disappear into the coloured background leaving just their eyes and a tiny clue visible. Then comes the fun of trying to work out which ones are the ‘vanishers’ each time. The good news is, the animals don’t swap places so if you’ve a good visual memory, you’re pretty much ahead of the game until the final …
no cheating now!
Near, Far is all about zooming in and zooming out. Seven animals are featured and each has three double spreads, the final one revealing the whole creature and I have to admit I only got two right the first time around. What would you say, this is?
The amount of language these two unassuming little gems can generate is amazing; they’re ideal for sharing in early years settings or one to one with a child, especially those who need a bit of encouragement to talk.
Guess Who, Haiku
Deanna Caswell and Bob Shea
An outdoor setting with a concatenation of riddles for young readers/listeners to solve is offered in this lovely, cleverly constructed introduction to haiku beginning with :
new day on the farm
muffled mooing announces
a fresh pail of milk.
Can you guess who from this haiku?
This question then recurs throughout the book for the other nine animal portraits …
each animal posing another haiku …
thus continuing the chain: riddling haiku, guess who? and turn the page discovery.
Bob Shea offers visual clues too – one for each riddle, and these as much as the verbal posers are likely to have youngsters delightedly calling out their guesses ahead of the vibrant pictorial revelations on the following page.
A final page gives a brief introduction to the haiku form – its structure and intentions.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile addition to the poetry bookshelf.
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