The Perfect Rock

The Perfect Rock
Sarah Noble
Flying Eye Books

I’d just finished reading another Flying Eye book, Curious Creatures: Working With Tools, when I picked up this one, little realising it too involves tool-using otters.
However, Sarah Noble’s narrative is a story about three busy young otters, Ollie, Bea and Ula that on account of their busy schedule, don’t generally have time to consider rocks. Nonetheless their shellfish feasting cannot happen in the future unless they can open the shells for themselves; so say their Papa and Mama. They go on to explain the qualities the opening tool – the Perfect Rock of the title – needs to have concluding with, “Most importantly, … something you hold dear, something you’ll hold tight and never lose.”

Off swim the little otters through the seaweed forest searching both high and low tides until at last … 

However a squabble ensues as each states the case for taking possession of this perfect finding and their squabbles lead to a scrap and chase resulting in the loss of the vital object and angry feelings bubble up. Then a scary storm blows in, delivering an important life lesson that changes everything. 

With gorgeous illustrations of both the otters and their environment, and words that are a delight to read aloud, this is such a lovely book offering as it does life lessons on sibling rivalry and finding your independence for the young otters, that are equally applicable to little humans. The otters’ changing feelings are so well expressed in Sarah’s scenes of their search, squabbles and final serenity.

Super Stan & Steven Seagull – Action Heroes

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Super Stan
Matt Robertson
Orchard Books
Meet two very different brothers, Jack and Stan. The latter always seemed to be the centre of attention, which is hardly surprising as he excelled in everything; moreover he had an AMAZING superpower enabling him to …

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You can imagine how this made Jack feel on the 364 days of the year when it wasn’t his birthday; but surely young Stan wouldn’t do anything to spoil his big bro’s special day would he? He’s certainly very excited and that’s before he starts …

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Not to mention wrestling with a lion and engaging in a game of soccer with the giraffes …

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Jack is not happy.
Suddenly though, a scream pierces the air, a scream the significance of which only Jack knows.

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At last it’s his turn to do something that puts him in the limelight for a change; something that proves to be a turning point in the relationship between Jack and Stan …
Choosing a suitably limited colour palette in keeping with the superhero theme, Matt Robertson delivers spread after spread full of comic humour. Don’t you love the way Jack deftly snatches Stan’s teddy from the clutches of the bear, for instance…

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Altogether a super debut picture book.

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Steven Seagull Action Hero
Elys Dolan
Oxford University Press
Steven is a seagull – a retired cop so we are told. Now there’s a crazy scenario if ever there was one. But it seems his retired status is about to change: his ex-partner Mac, needs his assistance and he needs it right away to assist in the search for Beach City’s sand thief. The two consult …

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and then head off to the scene of the crime in search of likely suspects.
First stop Harry’s ice-cream van but Harry has an alibi so it can’t be him. Nor is it Lola the lifeguard – her day’s been spent saving not digging but what about Rick? Looks like he’s a reformed character although his volleyball skills need a bit of polishing. Steven is at a loss but who is the builder of this magnificent edifice?

 

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Bingo! It’s the handiwork or rather claw-work of Claude Von Crab and he has weapons of destruction up on those ramparts.
Can Steven pull out all the stops and save the day? Perhaps, with a little female assistance …

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Totally off the wall but this one did appeal to my sense of the ridiculous – particularly this throwaway comment of Mac’s …

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