Monday, 21 May 2012

Into Imagination

Just as I was beginning to think that the summer was a very quiet period of lovely books my post arrived!

Lovely is not a word that really does justice to the three books which made up one beautiful parcel today for these books are high quality in every sense. Their production, their content and the stories they tell are stunning, beautiful and hauntingly clever.

What books am I referring to? Well the first I saw and will share with you is The Fishing Trip by Beatrice Rodriguez. Not only was I intrigued by the cover of this book whihc looks at once old fashioned and yet quaintly appealing to children, it was the name, not a name I recognise among children's picture book authors. Rodriguez is a French illustrator, who has received the highest acclaim in previous reviews for he whimsical and intelligent work and this latest offering does not disappoint. Published by Gecko Press, specialists in English versions of curious books from around the world this story is a wordless adventure about a chicken who would do anything for her family.
Now I know that I would do anything for my chickens so this book appeals to me on another level. Having said that I would also do anything for my family as I am sure most of us would so therein lies a further element of appeal. Chicken has an unusual family as we soon see, with a fox a crab and an unhatched egg! When Fox opens the fridge to find it is empty Chicken sets off to catch some food. She does this but is then caught herself, it seems the ocean to which she has gone is a dangerous place.
Toothy young chicks, a fearsome (though elegantly depicted) sea monster strive to prevent her archiving her aim. However it would seem that the real danger has been at home all along...or has it?
The strong narrative in this story is evident from the start. It is a loving visual feast of adventure and humour, the characters are strong, the illustration dramatic yet familiar. A real treat for young readers and their families.

The Birthday Cake by The Tjong-Khing is visual feast. A look and find adventure story, a detective romp full of humour and plenty of red herrings! The illustrations provide leads for readers to follow but are the the right leads, have they seen all the detail on th rage or will they need to go back? Every double page spread reveals a scene from the making of the birthday cake on the village green, there is plenty of activity, much preparation and lots of fun and games.
To help children follow the story asking them questions may help, guide them through what they see or leave their imaginations to work and see what they discover. The joy of this book is that the many leads allow readers to return to the pages over and over again to see if the story will take them along a different adventurous path! Another great story for promoting visual literacy and having fun!

Finally in this very special parcel was a book with words! The Best Singer In The World by Ulf Nilsson and illustrated Eva Eriksson originated in Sweden but is a story to be enjoyed by children around the world. This is the story of two little boys, one who loves to sing, the other who loves to listen. Playing games with singing is all very well but what about singing in front of a crowd, singing seriously? Can the hero of the story do it or will his nerves overcome him?
This is a very simple story with a very simple message, be brave, be strong and love your siblings! A gentle story with gentle illustrations it sends out an important message with humour and love. For young readers ready for work and schoo, this is a charming and comforting story. I hope you have the chance to enjoy these books from Gecko Press, I urge ou to try them at home, in school and in libraries, they highlight talent from around the world and emphasise the joy of storytelling no matter where you are or what language you may speak.

A true joy.

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