I, Pod / Don’t Eat Pete!

I, Pod
Rebecca Lisle and Richard Watson
Maverick Publishing

Little stone age boy, Pod returns for another adventure and it’s certainly action-packed despite beginning when little Nim’s mum assigns him the role of babysitter.

Determined to get the infant to say his name, Pod repeats it over and over but the baby comes up with plenty of close alternatives until when she says “Poo!” Pod decides it’s time to do something else.

With Little Mammoth’s help, he constructs a swing, sits Nim on and starts pushing – rather too enthusiastically …

… sending the babe right into the river.

Fortunately for both of them the river is fast moving and little Nim, a quick thinker for she saves herself with one deft move after another as a green snapper, a sabre-toothed tiger

and a huge eagle attempt to make her their next meal.

She’s not safe yet though for her craft is heading towards the waterfall. Happily Little Mammoth is also close by and his accidental action saves the day.

Pod is able to scoop up Nim forthwith and none the worse for her adventure, albeit rather wet.

Can Pod talk himself out of this one when they return home to find Nim’s mum already waiting for them?

Pod fans will thoroughly enjoy his latest, fun-filled book and he’ll likely the win a lot more enthusiasts thanks to Rebecca and Richard’s latest verbal and visual accounts of his exploits.

It’s not baby-sitting but puppy-sitting that provides the action in:

Don’t Eat Pete!
Sue Walker and Carlo Beranek
Maverick Publishing

It’s Moll’s Uncle Boll who is given the task of minding puppy Pete when she goes off to work having first ensured there’s plenty to eat and said quite forcefully, “DON’T EAT PETE!’ As if … comes the assurance.

But then Uncle Boll starts to consider the cute little furry bundle and the more he interacts with Pete, the more tempted he feels.

He diverts himself with biscuits followed by a tasty bacon snack but still, despite the reminder notice

and scoffing the entire meal, the greedy troll is still salivating.

Poor Pete in the meantime is becoming increasingly hungry and he eagerly anticipates what Moll will bring home to satisfy his now enormous appetite.

But can he manage to wait until her return to fill his rumbly tum?

With debut author Sue Walker’s droll rhyming narrative and Carlo Beranek’s deliciously expressive illustrations, this is a tasty book to share with little ones either at home or in an early years setting. They’ll certainly relish the final surprise twist in the tale.

Perilous Play: Game of Stones / Rocket Shoes

Game of Stones
Rebecca Lisle and Richard Watson
Maverick Arts Publishing

Young Pod of Stone Underpants fame is back and he’s in inventive mode once more.
Now he wants to make a ‘whizzy’ game to amuse his younger brother, Hinge.
His first creation is certainly that but there appears to be a design fault …

and the ‘Yow-Yow’ ends up being banned by their dad.
Back to the drawing board: more chiselling, sawing and hammering, and the result is ‘Crackit’.

That meets the same fate as Pod’s previous effort – a paternal ban.
His third attempt looks like a winner but the boys must find somewhere away from their parents to use it, and for this Pod calls on the assistance of their friends, both animal and human. What on earth could they be moving all those huge blocks of stone for?
A playful tale, some groan worthy puns, not least being the book’s title and suitably crazy scenes of Stone Age carry-ons make for another diverting drama from Pod’s creators.

Rocket Shoes
Sharon Skinner and Ward Jenkins
Sterling

When is it right to break the rules? Essentially it’s a philosophical question that might well be explored in a classroom community of enquiry session.
It’s the one young José must work out when his neighbour, who has been instrumental in getting his and the other children’s amazing rocket shoes banned, is in great danger.
The boy is sitting outside pondering on the aeronautical acrobatics he and his friends have enjoyed …

when a snow storm suddenly engulfs Mrs Greg who is outside searching for her missing cat.
Should he, or should he not get out his forbidden rocket shoes and whizz to her aid?

To reveal what happens would spoil the story, so I’ll just say, all ends highly satisfactorily for everyone in town …
Told through Sharon Skinner’s whizzy rhyme and Ward Jenkins zippy, cartoonish digital illustrations, this will appeal especially to those who like to break the rules from time to time.

I’ve signed the charter  

Stone Underpants / The Great Sock Secret

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Stone Underpants
Rebecca Lisle and Richard Watson
Maverick Arts Publishing
Stone underpants? Have you ever heard of anything more preposterous? Back in the Stone Age though, when young Pod lived there wasn’t an awful lot around to make bottom warmers from when your rear end felt decidedly chilly, so a pair of stone underpants is what he makes himself. Needless to say however, they’re not the best things for running around in, and as for swimming, well …

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Pod decides to try another material, but wood proves equally unsuitable …

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as do several others he tries. Is he destined to have a chilly rump for ever or is there something else he could try…

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The very mention of underpants and bottoms frequently reduces young listeners to fits of giggles and I suspect this one will do just that. The whole scenario is totally crazy: beetles demolishing his wooden underpants overnight for instance; and what was wrong with using an animal skin, there are certainly wild beasts evident in some of the scenes; but this madcap romp requires total suspension of disbelief so, why worry. It’s assuredly something youngsters will raise anyhow and they’ll also more than likely ask about the material used for that football too, and perhaps question why Pod didn’t just try making leafy underpants But all this could lead very nicely into some investigative work on materials if you happen to work with young children. Alternatively you might just enjoy the ridiculous story as told by the aptly named Rebecca Lisle, and have a good giggle over the equally crazy pictorial rendition of same from Richard Wilson.

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The Great Sock Secret
Susan Whelan and Gwynneth Jones
EK Books
My alternative uses for socks have been restricted to a resource for making puppets in the classroom; and when teaching yoga, as props for those needing a little bit of help in certain stretches.
In Sarah’s house though, the socks are put to all manner of imaginative uses by the fairies who share her home. When Sarah’s mum initiates a hunt for the socks that have mysteriously gone missing from the laundry basket,

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the little girl has to stay one jump ahead as they search all over the house. She knows who the culprits are; but can she manage to stop her mum from discovering those borrowers?
This foray into the fanciful is most likely to appeal to imaginative listeners around the age of the young protagonist.