Piglet trotted happily beside his best friend Pooh.
Talking about nothing much as best friends often do.
When suddenly Pooh stopped and said, “I’ve got a Grand Idea”.
“I’m going to catch a Heffalump. I’ve heard they live around here.”
Giles Andreae ofGiraffes Can’t Dance fame has taken this wonderful and well-known adventure of A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh and reinterpreted into a delightful rhyme and pictorial experience. More than 90 years on from the first publication of the adventures of Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet and Tigger inspired by a real-life bear Milne’s stories are as enchanting and popular as ever so to have this one in a picture book version for our youngest readers is a treat indeed.
As well as providing a taste of the delights of what is in the original collection, it celebrates friendship, bravery and the imagination, even providing the basis for an inquiry project for beginners. Just what is a Heffalump, what does it look like, and what would be the best way to catch it? Each child could create their own version, design a suitable trap and bait and maybe even start to consider whether catching wild creatures is ever a good idea. Those a little older might even start to investigate the role of zoos and how they’ve changed, particularly given Winnie’s origins.
Even though this is an adaptation of a classic, in its new form there are so many layers to explore that it is perfect as a standalone., and another generation will learn to love this lovable bear and his endearing friends.
Mother Tiger has somewhere she needs to be so she leaves her cub in the care of Old Tiger. But while Little Cub wants to play and explore, Old Tiger thinks he is too old to babysit and just wants to sleep. But he consents to a “very slow stroll” through country he has seen so many times that he believes “There’s nothing to see around her any more.” But he doesn’t factor in the joy and enthusiasm and fresh eyes of the very young and gradually his grey, tired world takes on new colours and new life.
With plenty of action words that young readers will love and relate to as well as text that sometimes rhymes, this is a story that moves from shadow to light as Old Tiger rediscovers the sights of his youth and even begins to take the lead in the play. Sometimes, as we age and life seems to weigh heavily at times, we forget to take delight in the everyday things that surround us so this story is a reminder that we need to make time for the simple and that there is fun to be had without always having to be entertained by external things.
Lambert is first and foremost an illustrator and that’s evident not just in the detail in the pictures but in the way he has used colour to reflect Tiger’s perception of the world. At first the jungle is dull and grey but as the adventure continues the colours brighten and the details are more intense and lush. The reader sees more and more just as Old Tiger does.
A great book for little ones and older ones alike.
Bong! Oscar is woken by the town clock striking midnight and strange noises in the street. As he looks out his window he sees a huge, hairy woolly mammoth. Instead of being scared, he is dressed and outside in a flash where Timothy the mammoth explains he is searching for his little brother. Together they continue the search which leads them to the town museum where the door opens a crack to reveal the inhabitants have come alive and are having a party. Continued through the interactivity of gatefolds, lift-the-flaps and speech bubbles the search progresses through the various sections of the museum until… It is certainly the most extraordinary hour of Oscar’s life.
Apart from kids’ universal curiosity of the mysterious creatures of the past, this is a book that will delight young children as they explore it over and over as it combines so much information as the quest continues. There is so much detail included that there will be something new to explore and learn with every reading. It is certainly an intriguing way to help them discover their world and enjoy having to be part of the action to move the story along.
When Ollie receives a letter from his grandmother in the form of a treasure map, he is very excited. What could his treasure be? Could it be a new truck? Or walkie-talkies? Or maybe that game he had been wanting forever? Full of excitement and anticipation he sets out on the trail – looking for the tree with the biggest leaves and gazing at the sky; smelling the brightest yellow rose that reminds him of Gran; wiggling his toes in the grass by the fountain then listening to the tinkle of the water as it splashes; and tasting a plump, red, ripe strawberry in the bowl on the picnic blanket. Finally, he has to lie down and look upwards – and there is in treasure. But it is not what he thought it would be and he is angry and disappointed until he notices the note that Gran has written…
This is a wonderful story about finding joy in the simple things that are all around us just by using our senses and taking notice of what it always there. Beautifully illustrated in a gentle palette that accentuates the text, young readers could have fun talking about what they would consider to be treasure and whether it has to take the form of a physical object and discuss whether Ollie was right to be disappointed and angry when his was not what he expected. They could talk about their own favourite sights, sounds, smells and surfaces and perhaps, as a class, identify a sensory treasure trail around the school, map and travel it, taking photos and writing about their discoveries. On a more personal note, some might even get their own treasure map from their own grandmothers!
Henri is a little caterpillar with a big ambition. He wants to fly and go on an amazing, incredible, impossible-seeming adventure to see the world outside his garden. But how can such a little caterpillar make such a huge dream come true?
His friends want him to stay where he is – safely in the garden with them. But Toad tells if if he doesn’t chase his dreams, they will get away. And so with the help of other friends like Bird, Mole, and Fish he is on his way. But it is not until he sees a tethered hot air balloon that he believes his amazing, incredible, impossible-seeming adventure will begin. If he can get to the top he is sure he will be able to see the whole wide world. But as he begins to crawl up the ropes, something happens to him and he finds himself shackled and sleepy. And then when he wakes…
This is a charming story that will appeal to young readers, especially those who know the life cycle of butterflies and can predict what will happen to Henri. But it is also an inspiring story about believing in yourself, having a dream and making it happen, even if it means stepping w-a-y outside your comfort zone. It’s ending is comforting – knowing that there is nearly always a safe haven we can return to. It is a soft, gentle story cleverly echoed in the soft gentle palette and is a perfect bedtime read as children snuggle down to their own dreams.
“This book is about worms. (I can only draw worms.) “
And so that’s just what we are presented with. Bright hot-pink worms (except for one yellow one because he lost his pen) that mix and mingle and get to know each other and have adventures, all of which the reader has to imagine because the author can only draw worms. Set on white page juxtaposed with some really bright backgrounds the reader is drawn in, but while the blurb suggests that the book is “hilarious” and guaranteed to have children howling with laughter” I think there is a gap between the age of the reader that it visually appeals to and that able to grasp the humour.
It’s different, it’s quirky, it’s definitely bright and young readers will love to join in the counting aspect as Mabbitt brings this most humble creature to life., encouraging them to use their imagination to fill in all the missing illustrations because he can only draw worms.
For the reading delight of toddlers comes a new series of lift-the-flap books featuring Ted who has an amazing imagination and makes fun from the most mundane things- things that the little readers will recognise and relate to.
In Playtime with Ted he has extraordinary adventures in what, to the adult eye, is an ordinary cardboard box but which to Ted is a racing car, a digger, a submarine – even a rocketship!
In Bedtime with Ted the nightly routine of bathing, teeth-cleaning, having a final class of milk are made all the more fun when you share them with some unusual friends.
Perfect for teaching our newest readers that not only is there fun in books and stories but they have the power to manipulate the story as they guess what might be under the flap and then lift it to find out. And even if their predictions don’t match the pictures, that’s okay because they’ve had fun bringing what they know to the words. Good stuff!
Ants are the most numerous insect in the world -scientists estimate there are more than 10 000 species and maybe 100 000 trillion individuals – which is a good thing because Millie the echidna loves them. No matter where they are – on the path, beneath the bath, in the kitchen, in the shed, on a picnic, in the bed – Millie is on an endless quest to eat as many as she can. Whether it’s a hunter ant, a soldier ant or even a queen flying before rain, she is on their trail because she is on a special mission…
Echidnas are not uncommon in the bush environment from rainforests to dry sclerophyll forests to the arid zones and with their formidable spines and remarkable ability to grip the ground, even hard concrete so they cannot be disturbed, it is no wonder they are are the oldest surviving mammal on the planet today. Knowing that author Jackie French lives in the bush environment in south-east New South Wales, one can imagine her watching an echidna snuffle across her backyard on the trail and this delightful book being born as she pondered its search and brought it to life in rhyme.
While Millie continues her dogged pursuit, which is such a steady but remarkably speedy pace, artist Sue deGennaro adds movement and humour in her portrayal of the ants who are as clever as they are numerous. We’ve all seen them carrying food bigger than they are but who would have thought they could manoeuvre four cupcakes and a suite of garden tools!! And in amongst the frivolity there is a lot of information about the benefits of these tiny creatures to our landscape and lives, even if we do see them as pesky annoyances in the sugarbowl!
Having endeared us to the ants through these charming pictures, we then discover the reason for Millie’s journey and hearts melt all over again – while a lesson in life is learned. We need food to provide food. Little readers will not only understand echidnas a little more after experiencing this book but they will also view ants in a different light and perhaps take time to observe and think about what the ants are doing before hitting them with a spray or a foot.
Extensive teachers’ notes are available as well as a poster but this copy is winging its way to Queensland for Miss Almost 2 just for the share joy and delight of the words, the rhyme, the pictures and her love of stories that is already well-cemented because of tales like this.
The world was first introduced to the very hungry caterpillar as he munched his way through a menu of goodies almost 50 years ago! Now he is back, hiding somewhere under the flaps waiting to be discovered by little fingers.
With the bold colours and readily recognisable illustrations of the wondrous Eric Carle who has a gift of turning the mundane into the extraordinary, it’s time for little ones to have even more fun with the little caterpillar that so many of them already know and love. And as well as recognising the familiar foods from the original story and perhaps even being able to read the words for them because of that, they can also learn what other tiny creatures inhabit the world beneath their feet and maybe tread a little more gently on this earth.
This ticks all the boxes about helping our first readers to understand the basic concepts about print that are so vital to their reading success, particularly making connections between this new story and the one they know as they learn to carry that knowledge and apply it to a new situation. Brilliant from what might appear to be a humble board book!
Archie loves being a bear but people just see his as a boy in a bear suit. Strong-willed, determined and frustrated that people don’t believe him, Archie runs away to the forest where he meets a bear who is all about being a boy. When Archie comments on the bear’s boy suit the bear growls at him that he is a boy not a bear, and instantly there is a bond between them. Sharing the things they love like honey sandwiches, fishing and reading they support each other until darkness falls and the night grows cold and suddenly it’s better to be who you really are.
Mackintosh’s illustrations bring each identity to life using scale to show not just the physical relationships but also the emotional ones. And despite being so small, even just a speck in some pictures, Archie’s will remains strong and large saying much about physical size and shape not defining us as people.
This is a quirky, original story about being true to yourself that will open up all sorts of discussions about imagination, self-belief and friendships. Even though adults might not see Archie as a bear, young readers will get it as the author has climbed into their thinking and they will relate to it. Sometimes it’s not enough to be a powerless little boy in an adult-dominated world.
Discussions may even wander into the field of how each living thing has adapted to its environment, each with its own special needs met within it, and why the ending was inevitable.