Board Book Bundle

Who Says Peek A Boo?
Who Says Hippity Hop?

Highlights for Children

It’s absolutely NEVER too early to introduce children to books.
In this pair of photographically illustrated books, babies can engage in a game of peek-a-boo with some favourite animals; or join some lively animals chasing after colourful eggs as they decide whether to hippity hop, flippity flop, drippity drop, slippity slop, clippity clop with kitten, duckling, piglet, pony and bunny.
Each book has a mirror on the final page, which completes the question and response sequence.

More questions in:

Do Cats Moo?
Salina Yoon
Sterling

Salina Yoon’s latest in her lift-the-flap rhyming series for tinies that features animals and the sounds they make. This one showcases the titular cats along with pups, hamsters, birds, goldfish, bunnies, hedgehogs and turtles, all of which assemble for a gloriously cacophonous final double gatefold farewell wherein toddlers too can participate with their squeaks, sniffs, snuffles, splish-splashes, glubs, chirps, barks and meows.

Go, Boats, Go!
Addie Boswell and Alexander Mostov
Little Bigfoot

Boswell and Mostov add a new title to their In-Motion board book series with their rhyming introduction to water craft of all shapes and sizes. There are boats, old and new, pedal boats, boats to row and boats to sail, boats for work and boats for leisure, some powered by humans, others by machines; there’s even a boat that appears to fly, in this playful assembly of vessels each one colourfully illustrated in the ten double spreads.

That’s Silly! Rhyme Time
illustrated by Mar Ferrero
Highlights for Children

In just half a dozen double-page spreads, each with a gatefold on either side, youngsters can have fun discovering over 90 daft rhymes in such silly places as a Bog Fog and a Snowflake Lake.
The locations visited vary from a park to the moon, and include a busy town (good to see a bookshop there) and the seaside.

There are hours of potential fun, rhyme style herein; and with rhyme being one of the 3Rs of reading, this is definitely worth sharing with little ones who will also develop their observation skills in response to ‘What else do you see? What else is silly?’ on every page.

Polar Exchanges

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Poles Apart
Jeanne Willis & Jarvis
Nosy Crow
Polar Bears live at the North Pole, penguins at the South Pole and never the twain shall meet, or do they?
One day a penguin family, the Pilchard Browns, get themselves lost en route to a picnic spot. The trouble was Mr P-B’s instructions had been wrong – now does that sound a familiar family scenario? – with the result that, as the story opens, they find themselves drifting towards …

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The dialogue is a hoot: “This is the North Pole, my friends,” said Mr White. “The South Pole is 12, 430 miles that way.”
So, I was a few miles out,” shurugged Mr Pilchard Brown. “Anyone can make a mistake.
Don’t think of it as a mistake,” said Mr White.”Think of it as a big adventure.” …
Mummy says we should always follow our dreams,” said Peeky.
Daddy says we should always follow him,” said Poots.
Mr White is elected to guide the picnickers to the South Pole and thus achieve his own dream. Off go the adventurers over land and sea until they reach …

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The US proves exciting but it isn’t home, nor the right place for a picnic, so on they travel, the next stop being England. However, although the place has its charms, home it isn’t, nor an appropriate picnic spot so Mr White takes the party on to Italy. Pog has to hold on to his wee urge as they take a gondola ride along the canals of Venice.
The next port of call is India – dazzling for sure but again, not home

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so off they go to Oz, a ‘bonzer’ place but not home and … well you know the rest.
Their journey continues until finally they reach the South Pole and there Mr White joins them for that long anticipated picnic. After a while though, the polar bear feels the pull of the North Pole and so, he walks all the way back to his home.
A great adventure was assuredly had by all; but that’s not quite the end of the story for a surprise awaits our North Pole dweller …

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but even that isn’t the end …
With its patterned text, largely in dialogue this wonderfully preposterous tale is tremendous fun to share with a class or group of under sevens. Mine were soon joining in the repeat refrains with great enthusiasm.

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Penguin’s Big Adventure
Salina Yoon
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Penguin has an idea: he wants to be the first of his kind to set foot on the North Pole. Having packed his rucksack and rolled his map, (sporting as ever, his orange scarf) off he goes on his travels. En route he passes some of his friends and relations busy with their own world record preoccupations

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and eventually reaches his destination. But his celebratory shouts of ‘Hooray!’ meets with silence: and Penguin feels lonely and scared.
There follows an encounter with Polar Bear and the two spend time together adventuring and exploring.

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That however, is only part of the story for the purpose of his friends’ activities is made clear when they appear in a hot air balloon to take him back home with them.
Fans of Penguin and his adventures will enjoy this latest episode though I suspect some of the visual references alluding to previous Penguin stories will go over the heads of those who are making his acquaintance for the first time.
As always, Salina Yoon’s bold, bright illustrations have a quirky cuteness about them.

Use your local bookshop     localbookshops_NameImage-2

Exciting Children’s Book Illustration Autumn Exhibition in Piccadilly from 23rd to 29th October

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Bob & Flo, Penguin & Pumpkin, Alfie & other Little Stars

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Bob and Flo The Missing Bucket
Rebecca Ashdown
Oxford University Press
Sporting a new bow and carrying a bucket containing her packed lunch, Flo goes to nursery for the very first time. There she meets Bob. Flo is interested in painting: Bob is interested in Flo’s bucket.

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Indeed he finds all manner of uses for said bucket both practical and imaginative …

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Lunchtime comes and goes; Flo heads off to the slide where she discovers her bucket at the bottom and then, Bob. Now it’s time for Flo to make use of her bucket – for a while anyway.

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With so much of the mystery of Flo’s missing bucket being told through the charmingly simple illustrations, it’s very much a case of showing not telling. A perfect lesson of the power of pictures and indeed picture books, and their vital importance in the journey to true literacy.

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Penguin and Pumpkin
Salina Yoon
Bloomsbury Children’s Books pbk
Unlikely as it might sound, young Penguin, curious about autumn, sets out with Bootsy on a trip to a distant farm to discover what the season has to offer, leaving behind a sad younger brother Pumpkin who is just too little. Having arrived at the farm, Penguin sees pumpkins everywhere and unsurprisingly they remind him of his little brother. So the adventurers decide to harvest their own autumn surprises to take back for Pumpkin. He meanwhile, has found his own autumnal adventure but it’s not the real thing – that’s still to come, thanks to Grandpa, Bootsy, Penguin and …

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With its spare text and plethora of endearing penguin characters with their distinctive accessories, this is an appealing seasonal tale for tots.

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Alfie in the Garden
Debi Gliori
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
We join little Alfie rabbit on his flights of fancy as he helps his mother bunny in the garden. He explores the jungly vegetation where he becomes a ‘bouncing, pouncing lion’, then an elephant,

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makes a rainstorm and a swishy swashy summer breeze before his leafy wings carry him back to his nest and into Mama-Bun’s arms for a cosy, snuggly nap.
A gentle tale for the very young, the majority of whom just like Alfie, enjoy imaginative play. The muted watercolour pictures with their soft black outlines are a delight. The larger than life landscapes immediately attract tinies who become engrossed in a cosy world of make-believe conjured up by Alfie’s (and their) everyday playthings.

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My Little Star
Mark Sperring and Nicola O’Byrne
Bloomsbury Children’s Books pbk
A lovely bedtime treat, not so much a story more a gentle lullaby rhyme with gorgeous pictorial accompaniments of adult animals and their offspring. Every double spread is a portrayal of tenderness; it’s difficult to choose an outright favourite – each one provides an ‘aaah!’ moment – but I think it has to be either the nuzzling giraffes or the snuggling elephants.

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Just the thing for sharing with the very young: it draws you in and makes you feel safe, warm and loved.
When the day is done and sleep draws near,
When the moon’s aglow and stars appear.

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Toys Lost, Toys Found

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Gracie was intrigued by the way the mammoth came unravelled but retained his perfect shape.

Little Lou and the Woolly Mammoth
Paula Bowles
Bloomsbury Children’s Books pbk
What is that bright wriggly thing protruding from among the muddle of toys wonders bored, lonely Little Lou. Being of an inquisitive nature she decides to tug at it. The thread wriggles away; Little Lou follows until she finds herself in the middle of a massive, tangly mess.

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Lou tugs and feels a shake and a shudder. From the tangle emerges a huge woolly mammoth right before her eyes. Little Lou runs away, zigzagging here and there, hotly pursued by the massive mammoth

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but then … OOPS his tail is caught up with a castle and that begins his undoing – literally. A shadow of his former self, the cuddlesome creature pitter- patters, turns and dashes off in alarm, this time with Little Lou in pursuit, both zigzagging to the point of exhaustion. Time for an elephantine embrace, Little Lou – a new friendship begins thereafter.

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Paula Bowles’ soft colours, set against cream background pages serve this gentle tale of looking beyond the perceived information beautifully. The mixed media illustrations, with their gently humorous details have great child appeal; that mammoth is truly irresistible. A thoroughly engaging story, playful language, lovable bit-part characters and a variety of print sizes complete the package.
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Nightbear
Rebecca Patterson
Jonathan Cape pbk
The adorable-looking yellow bear narrator is not, he tells us, a new bear; he’s been around for ages and ages. Born in a northern factory, given as a birthday present, unloved and mistreated; indeed, bundled into a bag crammed with shoes and socks and sent to a charity shop. That becomes his home for long years, lonely and waiting for a new home.

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Then one day in comes a little girl with her mum and joy of joys, she buys that bear for just 50p. Off they go home, the bear with a new name, Buttercup. However, Buttercup discovers he’s bear number seven in his new home. Moreover, all the ursine residents have special jobs to do; each and every day they are hard at work. There’s Tufts, he’s the lift operator, Mr Brownbear who has to dress like a baby and have a daily buggy ride, Betty and Doffy don earrings and dance, Frank does stunts and Babyblue assists the little girl with bike riding and they all participate in daily beauty shows.

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Buttercup begins to worry about his role but then comes the realization that his fellow bears are all exhausted by their toil and fall fast asleep thereafter. Not so Buttercup; that’s when he comes into his own as story listener, comforter after scary dreams, sick attendant

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and story teller to the day bears, for what is Buttercup? Nightbear, of course!
Tinged with humour, this is a gorgeous tale of ursine love with endearing characters both teddy and human. Rebecca Patterson infuses every single spread with tenderness. Add to this, her choice of colour palette and attention to detail: the sum total is irresistible.
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Found
Salina Yoon
Bloomsbury Children’s Books pbk
Bear finds a lost toy bunny under a tree one day and despite loving it immediately, resolves to find its owner. He makes a huge stack of posters and off he goes to post them on each and every tree.

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In addition he and bunny consult the ‘lost’ notices and search everywhere to no avail. Poor bunny and poor bunny’s family thinks the empathetic Bear as he goes to bed.
Next day the two have great fun together

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but all good things must come to an end … or so it seems.

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Well, yes and no, for special toys are meant to be passed on to special others.
There is so much sensitivity in this perfectly constructed story; that young bear shows such inter- and intra- personal intelligence in his behaviour. This is beautifully conveyed through the author’s spare, undidactic prose and brightly coloured pictures. The latter, to which Salina Yoon has added some soft texturing, also speak volumes about the emotions of the characters.
A total delight; perfectly pitched and a book that offers so much to think about and discuss with young listeners.
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