This Girl Can Do Anything / Sometimes: A Book of Feelings

This Girl Can Do Anything
Stephanie Stansbie and Hazel Quintanilla
Little Tiger

Meet young Ruby, strong-willed, knowing exactly what she wants and determined to do things her way.: in short, she’s unstoppable. Yet despite her toughness and inner-strength, there are times when she allows just a little bit of softness to seep through.

Of course not everything goes right straightaway, but with encouragement from her mum, Ruby is always prepared to have another go.

Her energy is boundless yet come the end of the day, despite what our protagonist says about not feeling tired, at bedtime, Ruby is ready for something special from her mum and dad.
For sure Ruby is a force to be reckoned with, unafraid to speak out about what she wants to do; however she does have a soft-centre that occasionally, she lets us enjoy a taste of too.
I love the way, illustrator Hazel Quintanilla uses a different colour background for each spread.
From the same author is:

Sometimes: A Book of Feelings
Stephanie Stansbie and Elisa Paganelli
Little Tiger

Stephanie Stansbie adopts a rhyming narrative to explore emotions, as we follow a sister and brother through a single day beside the seaside. It’s a day full of ups and downs: occasionally the dominant feeling is one of darkness and fear, but that can be dispelled by a brave leap; likewise disappointment and boredom can be overcome, perhaps by doing something active – dancing.

After presenting other feelings of the less desirable kind – anger, sadness 

and loneliness too, the mood turns much more upbeat as we see the boy and girl exhibiting kindness and forgiveness which dispel those bad feelings, allowing them to be replaced by a sense of peace, contentment and calm. With equanimity prevailing, brother and sister are ready to return to the family home, safe in the knowledge that once there, somebody will be waiting to show them the most important feeling of all: love.

With Elisa Paganelli’s expressive scenes of the children’s highs and lows to complement Stephanie’s words, this book offers a helpful starting point for exploring emotions with young children either at home or in a foundation stage/KS1 classroom.

The Wind May Blow / Someday

Here are two beautiful picture books kindly sent for review by Little Tiger

The Wind May Blow
Sasha Quinton and Thomas Hegbrook

With its cut away pages and tender illustrations this is a beautiful book – both visual and verbal – for adults to share with little ones.

The voice is that of an adult speaking to a young child, “On the day you were born the sun rose brilliant and bright and beautiful,” in a place where “the sun rose and kissed your toes as warm roses bloomed in each cheek.”

Time passes, the child grows to face a life that inevitably isn’t all filled with sun and roses: stormy times are likely to occur. 

What’s required then is to stop, pause and take time to breathe deeply 

in the knowledge that you have the inner strength, life skills and whatever is needed to face challenges, overcome adversity and emerge out of the storm. The moon will be there burning brighter down on you and when the sun rises next morning, so too will you. There’s always the possibility of a new beginning.

So goes the seemingly simple, gently affirming wise message of this cleverly designed book with its die-cuts strategically placed throughout.

Altogether a splendid amalgam of words, pictures and design that is just right for many occasions: adults will know when it’s appropriate to revisit this timely picture book after a first reading.

Stephanie Stansbie and Frances Ives

When a little bear cub tells his mother one morning that it wants to be just like her, she likens her little one to a sapling that will soon be a tree. This doesn’t quite satisfy the cub, for that so mummy says, won’t be tomorrow. First they have lots of things to do together – memories to make – of happy hours and days spent frolicking through grassland, jumping over rocks, climbing trees in search of juicy berries, splashing and swimming among fish in the fast-flowing waters.

And all the while growing stronger and learning to cope with things that might at first seem frightening.

Then will come the possibility of meeting a mate and producing a new family. As they sit beneath the branches of a spreading tree, Mummy Bear talks of the cub’s memories acting like the tree’s roots keeping it “strong as you grow and flourish and bloom.” It’s their togetherness that prompts the little cub to express happiness in the here and now, with the promise of many many wonderful tomorrows.

Frances Ives’ illustrations capture the warmth and love between ursine mother and offspring; but as it is with bears, so as this lyrical book implies can it be with human parent and little one: memories to cherish as a child grows up and finds his/her way in the world.

My Friends and Me

My Friends and Me
Stephanie Stansbie and Katy Halford
Little Tiger

Families come in many different forms; this book celebrates that diversity. It’s narrated by a cheerful child who introduces, matter-of-fact style, families belonging to several friends.

There’s Kate who has two dads, best friend Harry with just his multi-talented mum

and Olivia with two sisters, two mums and a little brother. Then comes Lily with two homes, one belonging to her dad, the other to her mum.

Some friends are especially good for sleepovers: one lives in an enormous mansion, another in a caravan and a third, on a boat.

Hannah on the other hand, lives with her foster mum (among others in the household) Then there’s Ned’s mum who turns out to be not the man people originally thought but a super-surfer all the same.

In fact each of the families is a happy one and love is the key, not least in the narrator’s own, for we discover that this young child lives with granny and grandpops who are the ‘coolest grown-ups’.

The up-beat tone of the narrator is reflected in Katy Halford’s bright, cheery illustrations that have lots of amusing details such as ‘Frank’ the goldfish and Harry’s toy bear Bon-Bon.

Presenting as it does both traditional and non-traditional family units, this book would be especially helpful for teachers exploring families as a theme ; and of course it’s worth pointing out that every family is in some ways, different from every other one.