Edward and the Great Discovery / Diggersaurs

Edward and the Great Discovery
Rebecca McRitchie and Celeste Hulme
New Frontier Publishing
Young Edward comes from a long line of archaeologists but, despite determined efforts, is yet to make his first discovery. Then one wet night, the lad unearths, or rather falls over something that looks promising; it’s a strange egg.
Edward takes it indoors for investigation and a spot of TLC …

When the egg eventually hatches, Edward is more than a little disappointed to discover that it’s nothing more exciting than a bird; albeit a very helpful, loving one. Disappointment number two comes when Edward realises his bird is unable to fly.

To cheer himself up, the boy takes himself off to his favourite place, The Museum of Ancient Things and it’s there he learns that after all, his find is indeed a momentous one– a Dodo no less.

Now Edward has, not one but two great finds: an extraordinary friend and companion and a rarity from ancient times. He has also earned himself a place on the wall of fame alongside the other esteemed members of his family.
With its scientific underpinning, this is an unusual and enormously engaging tale of friendship and self-discovery. The gentle humour of the text is brought out beautifully in Celeste Hulme’s avant-garde, detailed illustrations: every turn of the page brings visual delight and much to chuckle over.

Diggersaurs
Michael Whaite
Puffin Books
If you want a book for pre-schoolers that rhymes, is full of delicious words for developing sound/symbol awareness, is great fun to use for a noisy movement session and is characterised by creatures that are a fusion of two things young children most love, then Diggersaurs is for you.
A dozen of the mechanical beasts are to be found strutting their stuff between the covers of animator Whaite’s debut picture book; and what’s more they’re all working together in a enormous construction enterprise.

In addition to the huge monsters, there are some hard-hat wearing humans; but you’ll need to look closely to discover exactly what they’re doing and saying. That site certainly appears to be something of a hazardous place to be working alongside those earth-shaking, smashing, crashing, crunching and munching …

pushing and shoving, stacking, spinning, deep hole drilling, moving, sweeping mechanised giants.

I’ve signed the charter  

Pandora

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Pandora
Victoria Turnbull
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
I have to admit to doing a little dance when I saw this. I’ve loved all Victoria Turnbull’s books so far, but this one, with its tactile, satin, gold-sheened cover, is sublime. It takes picture book perfection to another level as it draws readers into Pandora’s lone world of broken things …

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where she spends her time collecting, mending and recycling whatever she can.
Into that world one day crashes a small creature. That too needs fixing, but Pandora’s mending skills are, she feels, inadequate. Clearly not her caring though, for she nurses it with tenderness …

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as it gradually gains strength and is able to fly once more. Pandora’s kindness is rewarded with small treasures …

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But then one day she is faced with an empty box.
The emotional turmoil this creates is as devastatingly heart-wrenching for the reader as for Pandora. Alone once more she nurses her broken heart and, as it slowly grows back together,

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other things start to grow in that box until one morning, the sun shines into her room drawing her outdoors to the best of all possible surprises …

 

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The spare text means that every turn of the page is part of an exquisite contemplative experience that has you in its thrall throughout Pandora’s highs and lows, as you linger to explore every delicate detail of this ultimately, uplifting, fable of transformation; for as Alexander Pope said, ‘Hope springs eternal …’