Little Spiral / Friends Don’t Like Roaring

Little Spiral
Pat Simmons and Patrick Shirvington
Little Steps

Deep in the rainforest ‘In a pearl-like egg’ grows Little Spiral safely tucked away but when he hatches, a tiny baby forest snail with a perfect spiral shell, the little mollusc must grow

and survive dangerous environments as he traverses the pages journeying over the forest floor, over stones, leaves and bracken through day and night as he encounters other creatures one of which – a rustling rat – scares him and another, a hungry lizard for which a snail would make a tasty snack.

Can he thrive as well as survive as he slowly moves and grows on his way to continue nature’s cycle: ‘Stay safe, Little Spiral’.

Perfectly complementing Pat Simmons’ poetic narrative, Patrick Shrivington’s wildlife watercolour illustrations provide a veritable visual feast of Little Spiral in his natural habitat.

Nature isn’t really magical but this book makes it seem almost so.

Friends Don’t Like Roaring
Antje Taylor and Matt Howarth
Little Steps

Lap is a small dinosaur with a large problem: he wants to play with the other little dinosaurs in the playground but he cannot figure out why they all beat a hasty retreat when he approaches them.

Happily Mummy Dinosaur is on hand to pacify her little one and having done so, to offer some words of about how to approach his potential playmates: “try using your words” she suggests and with a helpful lesson learnt, the day ends happily for Lap and all the little dinosaurs.

Antje Taylor’s straightforward present tense telling in combination with Matt Howorth’s bright, digital illustrations provide a simple story about building empathy and developing social interaction to share with the very young, especially those who are finding making friends and playing with others something of a challenge.

Can You Find 12 Busy Bees? / Ten Little Aliens

Can You Find 12 Busy Bees?
Jordon Winch and Patrick Shirvington
New Frontier Publishing

Who wouldn’t want to accept Jordon Winch’s invitation to enter the garden Patrick Shirvington so beautifully depicts on the opening spread, and join in the search for the abundance of wildlife residing therein. I for one couldn’t wait to go through the gate and seek out the lizard basking in the sun.

As we wander, lots of different birds introduce themselves starting with ‘2 patient powerful owl chicks’ nestling in a tall old tree …

as well as ‘3 crafty kookaburras, ‘6 merry magpies’ – these are poking around on the lawn, ‘7 flighty fairy-wrens, (in the bushes), ‘8 carefree cockatoos’ and ’10 rowdy rainbow lorikeets’ sipping nectar. Yes, some of these birds may be unfamiliar to young readers outside Australia but discovering new things is part of the pleasure.

Lolling around in the pond are ‘4 fat frogs’ to find; and there are two different kinds of butterflies making up the 5 fluttering through the flowers. We’re not told what kind they are, nor the identity of the 9 green grubs chomping through the foliage, though I hope few youngsters will fail to name the 11 lovely ladybirds’

or the most vital for us all, the ’12 buzzy bees’ of the title, as they forage for food in the flowers.

All these creatures, and readers too will endorse the final ‘We love our garden. We hope it will be there forever.’ And it definitely acts as reminder to make our own gardens wildlife friendly.

Patrick Shirvington’s love of the natural world shines through in his beautiful watercolour scenes that accompany the simple descriptive narrative.

Ten Little Aliens
Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty
Orchard Books

Aliens of all shapes and hues star in this counting down space adventure wherein the strange beings far from home search for a friendly place to stay.

Seemingly though, their numbers diminish as one receives a FIZZ! from a comet’s tail, another is SPLOOFed by Nova-berries, a Mega-Robot’s honking blasts the next, and a fiery crater fires out bubbling lava at a pink one.
Now we’re down to six and they’re caught in a sudden snowy blizzard. So it goes on with a SNIFF!, a BOING!,

a PARP!, a cry for HELP! as the sat-nav gives up the ghost.

Then, hurrah! Up steps the one remaining – a female alien – with a rescue operation to perform.

Will they ever find a hospitable planet on which to land their space ship? What do you think?

Rhyming fun Brownlow and Rickerty style always hits the spot with little ones and this story on an ever popular topic, with its sprinkling of alliteration is sure to please too.