Friday, 17 April 2015

A Light Hearted Selection

After the teen angst of last week I have continued to indulge in my favourite past time of reading but this time reading picture books, a guilty pleasure?  Great enjoyment!

I love the title of my first one Don't Think About Purple Elephants of course makes me want to think about them Susan Whelan and Gwynneth Jones (EK Books), in fact I want to see them too and know why I can't think about them!  This is of course the perfect title for a book, it generates  questions and when you open it to start reading some of those questions are answered!  This is a gentle and calm book about coping with troubles, troubles that come to mind at night, the worst possible time for them of course, and minor troubles they may be but they are enough to keep a young person awake at night - what if a favourite t-shirt is being washed and can't be worn?  What if its sprouts for supper?  A lighthearted and wonderfully illustrated look at the idea of easing worry that will resonate with children and grown ups alike.  And are there any purple elephants ... I will leave that to you to find out!

What the Jackdaw Saw by Julia Donaldson, Nick Sharratt and the children from Life & Death (Macmillan Children's Books) is a very special book written and illustrated by a super talented duo along with a very special group of children who were lucky enough to spend a day with Julia when she was Laureate.  In exploring stories for deaf children they worked on this new title whose characters are deaf and use sign language.  A book about signing, about acceptance and about friendship this is a delight to read and an education too.  It features some wonderful animals and a very funny story!

Ever wondered what life is like for children in Australia?  Wonder no more for with the help of An Aussie Year: Twelve Months in the Life of Australian Kids by Tania McCartney and Tina Snerling (EK Books) you are about to find out!  This is a packed and busy book but it does take you through 12 months, using 5 children and their pet dog to introduce you to all things Australian from Chinese New Year in January when it is summer to paddling with jellyfish in May there is an Aborigine celebration in July of course play dates and sleepovers and even Christmas.  Some fascinating insights into similarities and differences make this a fascinating book to return to time and again.
Another book from the same authors and publisher is the charming Tottie and Dot, two best freinds who do everything together until one day competition enters their lives, what will be the cot?  A thoughtful exploration of what friendship means.

Ever wondered what a slimy slug would feel like if you were to give it a hug?  Wonder no more for in Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross' Slug Needs a Hug (Andersen Press) you can find out just how the little slug feels when he doesn't get a hug from his mummy.  Why can this be he and his friends wonder and so efforts are made to make him more attractive but is this really what he needs?  A great book about accepting who you are and understanding just what it is you might really need.

Now a collection of titles from the glorious Phaidon Press.  The Beast of Monsieur Racine by Tomi Ungerer is the story of a prize winning pear tree missing all its fruit.  Monsieur Racine cannot be cross however for the stealer of his fruit is a very strange looking beast and they soon form an unlikely friendship.  There is a wonderful twist at the end too so do pay attention to the illustration.  A picture book for older readers this has a strong message, more detailed text and a generally more grown-up feel to it.

Snail Where Are You? by Tomi Ungerer again is a gloriously vibrant wordless picture book that encourages no end of storytelling ideas with its quirky pictures.  From a boat at sea to owls, a ballerina and even a violinist what story can you make and how many different ones can you tell?

Finally, but not least of all A World of Your Own by Laura Carlin is a tremendous picture book, a work of art that encourages readers to look at the pictures, read the sparse words and literally try to create a world of their own.  Laura Carlin provides the sparks, the reader must provide the imagination.  Intelligent and once again a picture book well deserving of an older readership.

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