80pp., pbk., RRP $A9.99
This is another new series to entice our emerging readers as they make the transition from levelled basal readers to the world of independent reading, created by an author and illustrator who are both in touch with what young children want in their stories. Oliver and Ruby have been best friends for ever and their everyday adventures that their audience can relate to are recounted in this series – two available now, two coming in April.
In an article written by Arena, he talks about the critical importance of play in children’s lives before “we age into doom-and-gloom-and-bills-to-pay-bah-humbug adults” and he draws on his own childhood experiences of playing the ukulele and drawing to bring the children to life. In Show and Smell we learn that Ruby is an accomplished ukulele player and Ollie likes to draw and to emphasise this each book has the music to the song that Ruby sings as well as a comic strip of Ollie’s perception of the story. There is even an album with Ruby’s songs (and more) available to enhance the reading experience.
Written, illustrated and designed with the express purpose of engaging this particular audience with its focus on real kids, play and imagination, this is a series that our emerging readers will devour as they continue their reading journey. And being in print rather than a one-off screen experience, they can return to the stories again and again.