Told in rhyme with hilarious illustrations, this is a fast-paced retelling of one of Andersen’s lesser-known stories that offers all sorts of opportunities from investigating his works, to exploring the concept of fables and the lessons they teach, to having a competition to see who in the class can jump the greatest distance and comparing the difference between standing and stationary starts.
Slightly different to the original in which a flea and a grasshopper both vain and ambitious, and a frog, patient wise and humble arrange a contest to see who can jump highest with the King offering the hand of the princess to the victor, it also enables students to look at various versions of some of these classic tales and compare and contrast how their telling has changed over time and generations, while the core message remains relevant.
Oh, what a thrill it would be to have a tail and gills! Imagine breathing underwater water! The idea gives me chills.
The little lad in this story is fascinated by fish and the world they live in so he takes the reader on an imaginary adventure under the water as he dreams of what his life would be like if his dreams came true. But wait! What would he have to give up as a little boy if they did? Is there a compromise?
This story-in-rhyme is not only an introduction to the creatures of the watery world for our young readers, but it is also an opportunity for them to share the things they wish for – and reflect on the price they would pay if they actually came true. A chance to think about the meaning of “Be careful what you wish for.”
The Big Bad Wolf is late AGAIN and is ruining stories as he rushes through the forest to Grandma’s house. When the Three Little Pigs get seriously grumpy AGAIN, Wolf tells them he’s had ENOUGH. There will be no more HUFFING and PUFFING from this Big Bad Wolf. The fairytale characters aren’t worried – they can totally manage without him!
But Big Bad Wolfing is harder than it looks … And what happens when they realise that they really need a Big Bad Wolf in this story.
Like its predecessor, There is No Dragon in this Story, this is another charming romp through Fairytale Land, this time The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood, particularly, with some other familiar characters thrown in. This is more for readers who are familiar with the original tales and characters that are commonly found in fairytales as that will help them appreciate the nuances of the story and its irony. Would the little pigs really want their houses blown down and would the wolf really want to end up in the pot each time? There is also a subtle message about taking others for granted and working as a team that threads its way through and it offers an introduction to investigating the role of the ‘villain’ in these sorts of stories, as well as the original didactic purpose of the genre itself. On an even deeper level, some could consider whether stories such as The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood colour a person’s perceptions of the wolf from a young age leading to situations like those of Fourteen Wolves allowing for real differentiation of the curriculum through one apparently simple book.
Nevertheless, even without the maturity to view the story through those lenses, this is one that little ones will enjoy because of its familiar characters, bright illustrations and fast-paced action. But I’m glad it allowed me to dig deeper for possibilities, as all quality picture books do.
With winter closing in, holidays seem like a tempting option right now but whatever you do or wherever you go, DON’T take an elephant with you. Or a cheetah, or a rhino, or a meerkat or an albatross for that matter. Or any of the animals mentioned in this wacky book, because even though they just want to have fun, they are going to cause havoc.
This latest addition to the You Can’t Take an Elephant series is as hilarious as the others and will delight both child and adult alike as they share it together. Let the child think of then draw a scene from their favourite holiday spot and then add a favourite animal and a situation and there is the basis for a story. Even better if it rhymes as this text does! Or explore how the author has used language to make the rhymes and play with their words so they do too. Imagine what a wombat might do if you took it to the beach with you!
A bit of fun to play with as the long winter terms drags on…
As Mother Monkey leaves her three babies high in the tree, she warns them not to go to the mango tree because of the tigers that are lurking. But the mangoes look delicious and the babies are very tempted. “Maybe we could just look at the mangoes…”
“Maybe we could just get that little one…”
“Maybe we could just go down there anyway…”
How far are they prepared to push the boundaries? Are there tigers lurking? Do the babies learn their lesson?
In the dedication, Haughton quotes Aristotle …”For the things we have to learn before we can do, we learn by doing,” and he has encapsulated this perfectly in this cautionary tale that young readers will love because they will all remember a time when they have been warned but the temptation has proved too great. With its repetitive text that little ones can join in with, there is a sense of suspense built up as well as a sense of urgency when they discover that their mother was right all along. Nevertheless, it also emphasises the need to be willing to take risks, perhaps not as dangerous as this, if we are to learn and move forward.
With his signature illustrative style, and its bold colours, the creator of Don’t Worry, Little Crab has gifted our younger readers another engaging story that will become a firm favourite.
There is nothing that Couch Potato likes more that slouching on the couch. In fact it spends all its free time in the exact spot on its comfy cosy couch, and really, there is no reason to move. With a range of gadgets – even one that fetches its snacks – and a wall of shimmering screens in front of it, it can control its entire life all the time with a few taps and a couple of clicks.
Life is perfect until… there is a power outage! Suddenly everything goes dark and Couch Potato is forced to open the curtains to let some light in where it sees the outdoors for the first time in a long time and it is tempted outside…
This is a new addition to Jory John’s collection of modern cautionary tales for young readers joining The Good Egg , The Bad Seed. and The Cool Bean. Encouraging those who prefer to live their lives vicariously through the screen to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and being actively involved with friends, it opens up investigations into a healthy lifestyle and the need for balance. A timely reminder given the events of the past year.
Even our youngest readers are familiar with the term “first responders” now and while there hasn’t been a national campaign here to stand at our driveways and applaud them in tribute, perhaps, in this most trying year, it wouldn’t be amiss to do so. But in this hilarious book from the team that brought us You Can’t Let an Elephant Drive a Diggerand You Can’t Take an Elephant on a Bus,young people can learn about those who do help us in an emergency and how they can be contacted.
There are often news reports of young children having saved a life because they knew to dial 000 and so this is the perfect non-confrontational way to introduce and teach this information. As well as that, it could also be extended to learn how to avoid getting into tricky situations such as causing fires and staying out of floodwaters. Even though it’s primary purpose is to entertain by putting animals in ludicrous situations, nevertheless in the hands of a skilled teacher or parent, there is much more that can be gained from sharing this book.
A must-have for anyone with health and safety on the curriculum.
There was once a giant who stood on the shore of the sea. She looked out across the water the water, because that is what she had promised to do long, long ago.
On the shore there was a young girl who would often come and sing and while the giant never moved or spoke, she listened. Then one day, she warned the girl that the people in the city had a machine that was causing the sea to rise. If the machine were not turned off, the people would all drown. The girl tried to warn the people but they would not listen. They loved their machine and could not imagine that it would ever do them harm, until….
In the style of Armin Greder and Shaun Tan, this is a picture book that has a powerful message that in these days of climate change conversations, even our younger readers will grasp. Even though the little girl remains nameless, each of them could see themselves as being her as they try to make the adults in their world listen to their fears. While the palette of the illustrations is dark and moody reflecting the tone of the story, there is also a thread of hope when the giant returns and rescues those that heard the girl – not all the ears were deaf.
The ending is poignant and bittersweet but it reinforces the power of children’s voices at a time when the adults seem to have lost their way.
The best picture books are those that span all age groups with a meaning and message that speaks to each, and this is one of those.
Teachers’ resources with salient discussion points particularly for older students are available to help you make the most of it with your students because it is one that will linger in the mind long after it has been shared.
There was a child,
The sweetest ever,
Until she learned these words:
No matter what activity her parents suggest, including those that have always been her favourites, Georgie’s response is No! Never! It becomes very frustrating for her parents who are at their wits’ end until they try a little reverse psychology.
Written in clever rhyme that bounces the story along, and illustrated in a way that emphasises the discord in the household because of Georgie’s attitude, this is a book that will resonate with preschoolers who are testing the boundaries and parents who are trying to manage that. While parents might like to use the strategy with their own children, or just remind their children of what happened to Georgie when their children try a similar tactic.
A fun, modern cautionary tale that will have broad appeal.
Arabella was the only child of a duke and duchess who doted on her and enabled her to be granted one special wish each year. So far she had wished for a pink puppy, an amusement park, even a real-life fairy. The one thing she did NOT wish for was a baby brother but she got one anyway. And Master Archibald Vermillion Remington XV (aka Avery) was “a master of mayhem” with “ear-splitting acoustics” so that while Arabella loved him, she did not always like him. For her next wish, she asked for a magic pencil, one that could make everything she drew real/ She had a lot of fun with it until the day she drew a magnificent garden party and Avery invited himself to it. So Arabella pulled out her pencil and did something…
Dedicated to all those who have become an older sibling, this will resonate well as sometimes it is hard to adjust to the changes. While it might be nice to wish for things to return to what they were, if it actually happened the results might not appeal. A modern-day cautionary tale.