Hooves or Hands?

Hooves or Hands?
Rosie Haine
Tate Publishing

Following her debut picture book, It Isn’t Rude to be Nude, author/illustrator Rosie Haine invites readers to ponder on the possibilities that being a pony instead of a human might offer.

Taking by turn a series of parts of a pony’s anatomy – hooves, legs, face, hairy parts and then moving onto topics such as pooing, movement, diet and mode of communication, she presents the alternative equine /human scenarios starting with the title hands or hooves, followed by being four or two legged, having a long or short face, possessing a mane, tail, forelock and fetlocks or not, pausing for a dump wherever you are or having to hold on,

galloping or running, whether or not your bum is furry,

whether you dine on a variety of foods or have to stick to hay and whether you utter words or a neigh (yes the text does rhyme).

The key question is ‘… would you rather be a pony or a person?’ Which would bring more fun? There’s even the prospect of being both. The key thing however, is individual choice and making the most of what you choose.

Playful, clever, quirky and thought-provoking.

Share this in a classroom and you might find children trying their own versions using a different animal of their choosing.

Why? / It Isn’t Rude to be Nude

Billy Dunne and Rhys Jeffreys
Maverick Publishing

Young children are innately curious about the world around them, always asking questions and wanting to discover new things. So it is here with the girl who is out walking with her dad when he points out a rainbow in the sky saying, “You get them when the rain has passed and the sunshine comes instead.”
“Why?” comes the girl’s softly spoken response. This precipitates a sequence of further questions “Why?” followed by explanations from Dad who speaks first of colours in a light beam being split when they pass through rainy weather;

then the fact that blue light bends a little more than red.
The next “Why” invokes an explanation of this fact. The girl’s whys intensify and Dad moves on to more sophisticated talk. After which the poor fellow is feeling somewhat frazzled and in need of a rest. But still comes another “Why?”

What the guy says in response gets right to the crux of the complex matter but story spoiler I won’t be, so I’ll leave you to wonder or ponder upon this – unless of course you’ve sufficient knowledge of physics to answer for yourself. Whatever the case, his daughter is delighted, and all ends satisfactorily – just about!
Just right for youngsters eager to find out about their world (rainbows in particular) and their weary adult responders.

Billy Dunne’s rhyming narrative making accessible some tricky science, is easy to read aloud (great final throwaway comment from the daughter) and is well complemented by Rhys Jefferys’ illustrations. I love the way he shows the changing expressions of the father as he does his utmost to keep up with and ahead of, his daughter’s “Why”s and his wordless spread showing ‘The complex composition of the photon field’ is a complete contrast to the relatively spare previous ones.

It Isn’t Rude to be Nude
Rosie Haine
Tate Publishing

Open this debut book of Rosie Haines and almost immediately you’re faced with this spread with bums

after which we see nipples (normal things), ‘willies’ (not silly) and vulvas. Thereafter come changes to some parts – boobs might grow, and hair (don’t be scared).
On view too are bodies of all kinds and a variety of body colours and markings

as well as hair (or lack of it). We’re shown people whose bodies stand, sit, or leap and dance, and sometimes strut across the spreads

all with one object in mind – to promote body positivity and to show how bodies change over time as we grow and get older.

Children for the most part do have a positive and healthy attitude to nudity; it’s often the attitudes of adults that trigger those feelings of shame about the naked form and being naked. So, it’s three rousing cheers for Rosie’s book illustrated with a wonderfully warm colour palette and a pleasing fluidity of line.