More than 75 years since the original favourite Caps for Sale was published, comes a sequel based on story ideas shared with Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer throughout their years as friends and business associates prior to Esphyr’s death in 2002. The pedlar is back with his checked cap, and his stack of grey, brown, blue and red caps perched on his head, having finally got them back since the monkeys stole them in the original story. And the monkeys are there too, mocking his every move. But the pedlar is very unhappy because he hasn’t sold any caps. Will the monkeys help him or cause him more bother?
Young readers will delight in being introduced to the original of this classic story and then following that with the reading of the sequel with a storyline, artwork and colours which echo the original. A classic ready for a new generation of fans.
Usborne have added another volume to their stable of illustrated collections that bring us the tales, stories, myths and legends that have been shared with and enjoyed by children throughout the generations. This collection includes The Secret Garden, The Railway Children, The Wizard of Oz, Black Beauty, Little Women and Heidi, all based on the original stories and beautifully illustrated to entice the young reader ready to take their reading in a new direction.
There are some stories that have endured over time for very good reasons and this collection is one that celebrates some of those that continue to be published in full so many years later. They are the sorts of stories that grandparents and even great-grandparents remember fondly and love to give so these abridged versions are the perfect introduction to the longer, original stories. Apart from just being a good read, they give 21st century children a glimpse into the lives of children of the past to a time when life wasn’t dominated by screens and technology. Who wouldn’t be tempted to explore the mysteries of Misselthwaite Manor, wander down the yellow brick road or be afraid of going from luxury to poverty overnight?
As well as being an essential addition to the collection, this could be one to flag in your suggestions for Christmas purchases for parents!
Living in a bustling town is exhausting for a little mouse and she dreams of a quiet place in the country. So she writes to her country cousin to see if she can visit for a while, swapping homes so they each have a holiday.. Country Mouse is very excited because he has always wanted to be “a mouse about town.” But things are not quite as wonderful as they expect and neither is sorry when their holiday is over and it’s time to go HOME.
This traditional fable from Aesop has been retold in rhyme, bringing its powerful message of what it means to be home and to belong to a new generation. Cleverly illustrated with a gentle palette and strategic cutouts it’s a story that has endured over time because of its timeless message of “the grass always seems greener” . Little ones can have fun imagining what it might be like to live the life of their hero or in another place, but then also reflect on the things they would miss if they were really able to make the swap.
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.
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!
When Beatrix Potter first wrote about Peter Rabbit for five-year-old Noel Moore, son of Potter’s former governess Annie Carter Moore, in 1893 and then revised it until it was finally published by Frederick Warne in 1902, I wonder if Ms Potter could have imagined that 115 years later it would have been translated into 36 languages and sold over 45 000 000 copies worldwide. I wonder if all those publishers who rejected it when she first submitted it to them are kicking themselves as yet another incarnation is set to introduce a new generation of little people to the wonderful characters and distinctive illustrations.
Moving away from its iconic appearance as the familiar small white-framed books perfect for little hands, this new version is a Peter Rabbit-shaped board book which introduces Peter in rhyme. Little ones are introduced to Peter and then invited to join him as he hops, jumps and scampers through the woods with Cousin Benjamin until it’s time for sleep. It’s the perfect introduction to this endearing and enduring cast of characters for today’s toddlers, getting them ready to meet all Peter’s family and friends and romp through Mr McGregor’s garden and the beautiful British countryside brought to life by Potter’s meticulous and detailed artworks.
Miss 6 met Peter and his mates when she was still in her cot – now it’s time to pass the baton to Miss 2, the 4th generation of our family to be enchanted.
What do Demeter and Persephone, Finn MacCool and the fish of Maui all have in common? Well, they are included in this collection of stories from around the world beautifully illustrated by Anya Klauss.
In times long past before the truth was known, many of the things like the sun’s passage across the sky or the formation of the land were a mystery to those observing them so they made up stories to explain the particular phenomenon. Even though they came from far-flung places and diverse peoples. their common thread was to explain the seemingly inexplicable so that the world made sense to them. Whether it involved giants, mythical beings and creatures, magic or sorcery, each story sought to demystify and through their telling through generations across thousands of years they have endured, even though science may have intervened to expose the truth.
As well as being a wonderful introduction to these sorts of stories and embracing a range of cultures, such myths can also be the entry point into scientific investigations for young and not-so-young scientists. If Maui did not fish the North Island of New Zealand out of the sea, how did it get there? If the changing of the seasons are not caused by Demeter’s love and loss, how are they formed? A great way to link literature and science and start our students on their own quests.
Jeffrey the Giraffe is very unhappy. Even though it is a lovely day, and he is the same size as the other giraffes and has the same spots as them, he has a short neck and that makes him different. As he wanders through the jungle feeling sorry for himself he almost steps on a little bird walking in the grass. The little bird is most indignant but when he hears Jeffrey’s story about being different and lonely he suggests going for a wall.
Jeffrey is surprised that the bird, whose name is Peter suggests a walk when everyone knows birds fly. But like Jeffrey, Peter is different for he cannot fly. That is until an innocent game of hide and seek changes both their lives forever…
First published in 1964, it has been republished several times over the years and now another generation will get to share this story with a theme that not only passes the test of time but endures in a myriad of situations everywhere so it will resonate with today’s readers as much as it did 50 years ago. Steadman’s bright, detailed illustrations are full of fun and echo the artwork of children although there is much to discover with closer examination.
Little ones can be encouraged to predict what might happen at several parts in the story particularly when Jeffrey’s predicament becomes apparent, which encourages them to take risks in a very safe environment, and they will enjoy joining in with the actions and words as the animals try to solve Jeffrey’s problem. Retelling and art opportunities abound! The best stories promote this sort of spontaneous interaction and so it is perfect for helping them understand the fun and enjoyment of stories and the printed word.
This is a classic story about friendship, co-operation and accepting others for what they are not what they look like that will probably still have a place on the shelves 50 years from now.
In the 1970s two characters appeared in the realms of children’s literature and they are as popular today as they were then. Frog and Toad are an odd couple but Lobel wrote four volumes each with five stories about them exploring their friendship and showing young readers that it is fine to be an individual and your own person. This collection brings together all of the engaging, warm and funny stories and features a special foreword by Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo.
Written with familiar vocabulary in simple sentences and a large font with his hand-drawn and hand-coloured illustrations, Lobel has crafted stories around familiar incidents that young children will resonate with such as the dilemma of sharing a cool ice cream on a hot day, or raking leaves on a windy day. While Frog is the practical one, Toad is more emotional and imaginative as in the story of Christmas Eve when Frog is late and Toad immediately thinks something has happened to him.
“Classic” literature are stories which have a deeply human message that carries across time and space regardless of its historical or geographical setting and even those Frog and Toad have been around for 40 years, each story appeals and echoes with today’s readers just as it did then. Mr 42 loved hearing these as bedtime stories and as he travelled on his journey to being an independent reader he loved that he could read them for himself. Now it is time to share that joy and pleasure with his Miss Nearly 6.
Written in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffmann as Nussknacker und Mausekönig, The Nutcracker is another classic iconic story of the Christmas season.
The story of Maria Stahlbaum, her care of the nutcracker after it is broken by her brother and her adventures that happen when it comes alive at midnight including the battles with the Mouse King has been told in many interpretations over the years, including in dance after Tchaikovsky put it to music.
This version, retold by Emma Goldhawk and lavishly illustrated by Lisa Evans, is an abridged version of the original that is perfect for introducing young readers to the story. Its large, embossed, pages draw the reader into to the world of toys that Maria is transported to, especially the Land of Sweets where every little girl’s dream of being the Sugar Plum Fairy begin.
If you are planning to introduce your little ones to the ballet through the Australian Ballet’s Storytime Ballet (which I can recommend from personal experience) this is the perfect introduction to the story.