Little Green Donkey

Little Green Donkey
Anuska Allepuz
Walker Books

This is another absolutely delicious story from Anuska Allepuz. It’s narrated by Little Donkey who is, shall we say, a rather picky eater.

When we first meet him, his food obsession is grass: grass first thing in the morning, – he starts by eating his grassy pillow – grass all day, every day by all accounts.

On this particular day though our little grey ungulate friend hasn’t noticed the effects all this grass consumption is having upon him (observant readers doubtless will immediately do so) and as he heads off cheerfully for some refreshing water to quench his grass-induced thirst, he’s in for a shock.
What he beholds in the water certainly brings him up short and his immediate concern is what his mother’s reaction will be.

Some hasty disguise art takes place …

before Little Donkey heads home; but his Mum isn’t fooled at all. “It’s really time to try and eat some new food,” she urges.

Her son’s response is to sample several different coloured items – oranges ‘too juicy’; watermelon- too seedy; broccoli too green – really? Apples are just too yucky; grapes are instantly ejected, but what about crunchy carrots? Now they are …

Uh oh! we know what’s coming …

Little ones, as well as this reviewer, will eagerly anticipate the finale as well as giggling helplessly at upbeat Little Donkey, his antics and his foodie fads as portrayed by Anuska. Adults will relish the opportunity to plead their case after sharing this tasty neo-cautionary tale with their own picky eaters.

A laugh-out-loud delight through and through – grey, green, orange or any other colour!

Sleeping Bunnies / My First Books/ Picky Eaters

Sleeping Bunnies
Yu-hsuan Huang
Nosy Crow
The latest Sing along with me title is a favourite with almost every nursery child I’ve encountered; they just love to sing and act out this one. This beautifully illustrated version of the song offers the opportunity to have some book-related singing and manipulative play, lifting the sunshade over the bunny crib and making the sun rise at the same time, in time to hear the ‘merry tune’ from the animal trio that pop up from behind the fence to play to the baby bunnies.

These furry infants are reluctant wakers; ‘Are they ill? Oh so still!’ Oh no! Off they go, hop, hop, hopping till it’s time to stop. Yipee! Delight from cover to cover and if this doesn’t get your sleeping bunny hopping, then scan the QR code on the cover and play it nice and loud …
Books such as these can have another use too: once a child has learned the words by heart, they can return at a later stage and begin to match the words in their head with those on the page – one way into beginning reading.

My First Words
My First Colours and Shapes
My First Animals

Aino-Maija Metsola
Wide Eyed Editions
Finnish artist, Metsola has clearly used her background in printing and design to create these three stylish, invitingly interactive board book additions to the Learning Garden series. Each has seven brightly coloured spreads with ten named items per spread; My First Words encompasses items of clothing and a set of hangers, modes of transport; play-related things; Snacktime goodies and a spoon; and things related to the outdoors.
The two final spreads are devoted to Dinnertime and Bedtime.
There’s a related question to discuss on every spread (some more open than others) and an abundance of pattern throughout each book.
My First Shapes and Colours begins with the three primary colours, followed by green, purple and orange, with a final spread of shapes …

My First Animals (my favourite I think, because there’s a slight quirkiness about the animals’ shapes) has a plethora of creatures small and large. The garden,

pond, ocean, jungle, farm, polar regions and savannah are the habitats of the chosen animals; here I think a few of the questions were not so carefully considered: ‘… which animal is the tallest?’ we’re asked. The correct answer relies on knowledge rather than observation of what’s presented on the spread –the giraffe shown is not taller than say, the cheetah, for instance.
There’s rich language learning potential within each book, far beyond the mere naming of the labelled images depicted.

Picky Eaters
Ellen Jackson and Amy-Clare Barden
Sterling Children’s Books
As this playful, rhyming board book demonstrates, picky eaters don’t just come in human form. Creatures large and small, from koalas to caterpillars, turtles to turkeys and honeybees to giant whales are also very choosy about their dietary intake. Their favourite fare, and that of the other animals herein, is revealed by lifting the various flaps, two per double spread.

Fun learning for tiny hands.

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Eat Your People!

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Eat Your People!
Lou Kuenzler and David Wojtowycz
Orchard Books
Calling all those who are food defensive, have a picky eater of a child or know one, this book is a MUST for you. No! Make that a must for everyone who enjoys a deliciously funny picture book. Mealtimes will never be the same after consuming Lou Kuenzler and David Wojtowycz’s tale of food-refusing monster, Monty. The young chap is assuredly, no carnivore: people-eating repulses him. So much so that his vociferous protests at mealtime anger his parents …

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but delight big sis. Monica, a real omnivore who guzzles everything on her plate as soon as it’s put before her, and is more than happy to take some tasty tidbits from Monty’s.

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I’ll eat ALL my vegetables!” declares Monty. “But I WON’T EAT MY PEOPLE!” No pudding then declares Mum, which is followed with people prodding by Monty, and an angry comment by Dad. Mum starts counting … “One, two …” In goes a person – gulp – rapidly followed by …

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Nobody is amused; no that’s wrong: Monica laughs so much that orange drink exudes from her nostrils. There follows a spot of negotiating between Monty and Mum during which the latter mentions “an extra big MONSTER-SIZE helping” of Monty’s favourite pud. A deal is struck and … in goes an enormous scooping of ‘crunchy, wriggly, jiggly, sour’ people …

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He’s licked the platter clean so to speak: it’s ready and waiting for the promised pudding … TA-DAH!
What a yummy tale; despite being a confirmed veggie I simply lapped this up and then went back and started all over. The ending is a simply scrummy surprise that is sure to send splutters of giggles through any audience you care to share this with. The telling (largely in dialogue) is spot on, the pacing ditto and Wojtowycz’s illustrations are guaranteed to bring on a side spitting response from all humans, child or adult.

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