You Can Do Anything (Hip and Hop)

You Can Do Anything (Hip and Hop)
Akala and Sav Akyüz
Oxford University Press

Rhythm, rhyme and repetition, the 3 Rs of reading come together in a book with an important theme from award winning hip hop artist Akala and illustrator Sav Akyüz.
It features in particular pals, Hip the wise, top hat sporting, rapping hippo and his friend, Hop.
Everyone is preparing for the Blueberry Hill bike race.

For Hip and the Cheeky Monkeys, bike riding is a piece of cake; not so for Hop.
You can do anything if you try,
You can do anything, ride or fly.
Don’t let anybody tell you no.
Focus on your dreams and go!

Hip encourages him and Hop desperately wants to learn to ride his bike but can’t stay upright.

Riding a bike is all about balance. / Letting go of your fear is the greatest challenge.” is the advice from the Cheeky Monkeys. But despite all these encouraging words, Hop still keeps falling off. His morale is at rock bottom.
Time for a story from Hip.

Will this be enough to convince his feathered friend that practice, perseverance and determination will eventually pay dividends?
Can Hop become proficient in time for the event and who will emerge as the final winner? What do you think?
Definitely a winning formula from Akala – love his positivity mantra – and Akyüz, whose funky illustrations add street cred to a powerful self-belief message for all young learners.
Let friendship and inner confidence rule. Just focus on your dreams and go.

I’ve signed the charter  

I Love You / The Chalk Rainbow

I Love You
Xiao Mao and Tang Yun
New Frontier Publishing
The complete title of this warm-hearted picture book is Ti amo, Ich liebe dich, Wo ai ni, Te quiero, Je t’aime. It tells how a pupil in Ms Giraffe’s class learns her teacher’s favourite words. Ms Giraffe writes them on the whiteboard one morning and asks her pupils what they might mean.

Little Badger’s response is just what she was hoping for: “when you say it out loud, the most wonderful things can happen,” she tells her.
Like all enthusiastic learners, Little Badger practises her new vocabulary, addressing the school, plants,

the weather, a bird, her home and practically everything in it, even a new pair of pants, and most importantly, her Mum and Dad.
It’s a wonderful way of showing young children how much pleasure they can get from showing and sharing love, and by appreciating what they have. Little Badger is one cute character and she gets this straightaway, as well as the fact that to make new words your own you need to use them often. All this is shown in Tang Yun’s wonderfully whimsical scenes wherein perspective is employed to great effect.

The Chalk Rainbow
Deborah Kelly and Gwynneth Jones
EK Books
Teachers and other professionals who work with children who have ASD constantly have to think outside the box. So it is here with Zane’s elder sister.
Young Zane isn’t like other children. So says the girl narrator of this story: he has a made-up language, likes to line things up and really hates the colour black. You’ve probably guessed by now that Zane is on the autism spectrum.
His family find life can be challenging, especially because Ollie won’t walk across anything black: that means the pedestrian crossing and the family’s driveway. His parents, in particular Dad, are seemingly unaware of the cause of Ollie’s differences and the result is Ollie goes into melt down.

His sister however is more understanding and comes up with a wonderfully imaginative way of helping her younger brother. She starts by drawing a chalk rainbow on the front steps and with his help, extends it right down the drive. The chalk runs out but his sister comes up with a clever way to extend their creative bridge building …

wherever it’s needed and before long ‘there are rainbows everywhere.’

One hopes this story with its themes of accepting difference, trust and unconditional love, will help readers and listeners to try and see things from behind the head of a child with ASD.

I’ve signed the charter  

Handstand

dscn8968

Handstand
Lisa Stickley
Pavilion Books
If you’ve spent any time in a primary school during the summer term you’ll know that one of the crazes that unfailingly comes around every year is handstands. During playtimes, seemingly half a school population is endeavouring to perfect the art of handstanding. Now we have a storybook character doing just that; she’s the narrator of this quirky picture book and her name is Edith. It’s at home or in the park, not school where she’s honing her inversion skills though; watched – or more accurately, interrupted – by various creatures – a worm, a bee, a bird in flight, a spider …

dscn8966

none of which is happy about what she’s doing. Her “giant” hand was too close to the worm’s favourite ‘popping-up’ spot; her ear tricked the bee into thinking it was a flower; the bird, well he’s actually happier than the others as Edith provided useful ‘target practice’ for his flying poops. And the spider is shocked having ended up in her shorts when doing his ‘daily descent’.
Over the course of a week she goes from 1 second to 6 of ‘upsidedown-ness’ – the six being with a bit of support from Dad, who naturally has better things to do most of the time. By Sunday, Edith appears to have got this whole handstanding thing pretty much licked – in more ways than one …

%0a

I love the humour inherent in this tale of persistence and determination: Edith is a real cool cookie. I love too her various patterned outfits and the way, Lisa Stickley has incorporated pattern into other elements of her funky artwork; and there’s a bit of counting too. A debut picture book delivered with panache.