Word Trouble

Word Trouble
Vyara Boyadjieva
Walker Books

Starting somewhere new is often stressful but when everybody else speaks a different language it is likely to be much more difficult. So it is for Ronnie who has just moved to a new country.

Despite his parents’ efforts to equip him with some basic English vocabulary, his attempts at communication when his nursery teacher asks Ronnie to introduce himself are less than perfect. Sadly his classmates seem unwelcoming and Ronnie is upset that everybody giggles at him.

Back home he recounts what has happened to his mum and dad who do their best to reassure him.

The next day begins well and the other children want to get to know Ronnie better, but due to his lack of vocabulary he is unable to respond appropriately to their questions, leading to further confusion and leaving Ronnie as despondent as ever.

A trip to the park with Dad after school opens the way first to some non-verbal communication and then joyous laughter. It’s this laughter that leads Ronnie not only to the beginnings of friendship,

but also a realisation that both laughter and kindness are universal languages.

Illustration too is a universal language as Vyara Boyadjieva shows in her empathetic portrayal of Ronnie’s feelings and the challenges of being in a new country.

Ultimately uplifting, this sensitive debut picture book deserves to be in all early years and foundation stage settings.

A Day That’s Ours

A Day That’s Ours
Blake Nuto and Vyara Boyadjieva
Flying Eye Books

With normal life more or less resumed, post pandemic, for many of us that means back to dashing around trying to pack way too much into our days and forgetting those leisurely lockdown days when there was plenty of time and opportunity to slow down and appreciate just being together, savouring the simple things. The kind of little things the father and small child do in this gorgeous book, such as tucking into an enormous pile of pancakes at breakfast time, walking hand in hand discovering tiny treasures waiting to be seen on the way to the park.

The sounds too – they, just like Vyara Boyadjieva’s exhilarating illustrations – are captivating and need to be savoured.

There seems to be all the time in the world to notice the seasonal changes – those small signs like the leaves turning golden or orange, then not long after drifting down;

as well as to rest beneath the spreading branches of a tree before the day begins to fade.

Lyrically written in gentle rhyme, Blake Nuto has captured that magical window of time before even the quite young have their lives packed with worries about school grades, tests and exams, as the parent here knows all too well loom on the horizon for his child, a time all to soon over and one to celebrate.

A perfect fusion of words and pictures that adults will definitely want to share with young children over and over and over …