All Around Bustletown: Summer
All Around Bustletown: Autumn
Rotraut Susanne Berner
Completing the seasonal visits to Bustletown are these two seek-and-find books from Hans Christian Andersen award winner, Rotraut Susanne Berner.
The only words in the books apart from the plethora of signs, shop names etc. in the seven scenes of each, are found on the back cover. Nevertheless children will enjoy look, look, looking, over and over, inventing their own tales about the characters they meet on the pages; or instead, taking one particular scene and making up a story about what’s happening thereon.
For instance, there is a woman who is celebrating her birthday and has invited all her friends to a party in the park. Or why not follow Martha the penguin-loving nun who delightedly adds a penguin balloon to the fan she’s carrying only to have it blown away in a sudden squally downpour? Does she manage to retrieve it? You can find out on the final party spread.
Then there’s bookseller Wyatt, another party invitee: I’m sure Cara will be happy with his surprise gifts, not to mention the love element between the red-helmeted guy and the woman in checked-cut-off trousers. Do they make it to the party or head off elsewhere?
Oh! There’s also a mouse hiding in plain sight on every spread too: he needs to watch out for Tom the cat.
Autumn is the time when Bustletown holds a special festival and everyone is busy preparing. There’s an abundance of pumpkins large and small ready to be carved in the competition and the kindergarten we saw being built in the Summer book is now celebrating its opening with a lantern parade: so look out for children carrying all kinds of wonderful lanterns on every spread.
Martha the nun is there with her penguin too as well as, when she reaches the café on the final page, a funky ladybird lantern.
Oh my goodness: George and Anne’s huge pumpkin looks so heavy they can hardly manage to lift it up the steps and into the cultural centre where the carving is to take place.
Once again, there’s an absolute wealth of stories told and more waiting for readers to invent: just so many ways youngsters to let their imaginations soar here. The sturdy board book build of these two means that they should stand up to the enthusiastic use I envisage they’ll get if you add them to your collection.