Amelie and Nanette: Sparkly Shoes and Picnic Parties
pbk., 32pp., RRP $A14.99
Amelie and Nanette are very excited. Nanette has a brand new pair of shoes, red and shiny with the prettiest bows. She was just about to give up looking for new shoes when she spotted them on the highest shelf. And Amelie had something new too – a party dress with roses and ribbons. So they decide to have a New Shoes and New Dress Picnic Party. So they packed up a yummy picnic and a blanket, umbrella, sunhats, sunglasses and towels (in case they went paddling) got dressed in their new clothes with extra petticoats, bangles and necklaces.
Then they carried everything over the fence into the meadow to their favourite tree by the stream. It was their own secret hideaway.
Their new clothes make them feel like dancing and singing and spinning until they fell down giddy and giggling. It is time for the picnic – but what’s a picnic without flowers? So Amelie goes off to pick some while Nanette goes to the stream to get water and…disaster strikes.
This is one of those traditional, feel-good stories about carefree kids who are best friends, sharing everything. Both the text and the illustrations have an olde-worlde feel about them that takes the reader back to a slower, simpler, safer world where two young girls can pack a picnic, go over the fence and have fun without a care in the world. And you just know that there will be a happy ending.
This is an ideal series for introducing young children to the concept of a continuing collection of stories with the same characters, an important element of developing early literacy skills. Not only does it allow them to ‘dive right into the story’ because they already know who these characters are and what they’re like but that in itself makes them think back and bring that information to the present situation. “What do I already know about Amelie and Nanette that will help me enjoy this story?” is part of that ability to transfer known knowledge to new situations. It helps them predict what might happen based on what they already know and well-developed characters like Amelie and Nanette become favourite friends, reinforcing the understanding that books and reading are friendly, fun, perhaps even a solace.
Amelie and Nanette: Snowflakes and Fairy Wishes
hbk., 32pp., RRP $A22.99
Best friends Amelie and Nanette are really looking forward to Christmas. Together they make paper chains, write Christmas cards, wrap presents, make yummy scrummy snowflake fairy cakes and decorate the tree. But even better than doing all those things that mean Christmas is coming, is doing them with your best friend. The girls are so busy that they don’t notice that it is snowing, but when they do discover it they’re outside in a flash having so much fun making the biggest snowman, jumping and rolling around in it, throwing snowballs and making snow angels. Nanette is so excited that she goes out without her winter woolly warms on. And sadly, instead of making her fairy costume for the school Christmas play, she ends up in bed with a cold, too sick to take part in anything. But what are best friends for?
This is an enchanting story about friendship and the joy of having a best friend. Tilley’s illustrations are as gentle and subtle as the story offering a package that all young children will relate to. Why can’t you put cardboard antlers on your dog when you’re in need of a reindeer?
This book is about what really is the true meaning of Christmas – celebrating love and friendship and being there for those who really matter. And with other Amelie and Nanette stories coming the girls are likely to become favourite characters of this age group.