These books for very young readers stand out from other first-word books because of their design and format. Basically done with white text on black pages, the focus word and its picture are done in eye-catching foil so they stand out.
Designed to be shared with very little people just learning to recognise objects and perhaps even associate speech and writing, they would be an unusual but welcome addition to a baby shower gift collection or a new mum wanting to start her infant’s library.
Albert, Tom and Flossie Rabbit played very well together. Each had their favourite thing – Albert liked to be very active, Tom liked to dress up and Flossie liked to invent things. Their little brother Pipkin just liked to lie on his blankie in the sun beside the stream. Each day they had a marvellous time playing together but one day Flossie wished that they had some friends to play with too.
As it happened some squirrels, who are about the same size as rabbits, came to live in a nearby tree. And while they waved to each other as friends do, they couldn’t play together because the stream was too wide. Flossie though tying a lot of balloons to a basket and flying across might solve the problem but it didn’t. And the stream was too wide for Albert to run, hop and leap across. Would they ever get to meet up and play together? Then at last Flossie has an idea…and by all bringing their particular favourite activities to the party they not only solve the problem but have a lovely adventure as well.
This is a wonderful story for early readers about problem solving and perseverance and the children will have a lot of fun suggesting ways that the rabbits can get across the river and comparing the emotions before and after the problem is solved. They might even try to copy Flossie’s suggestion to see if they can design something similar. Gentle watercolour illustrations complement the text making it a perfect read-aloud to accompany a theme of friendships and working together.
When the author discovered she was pregnant, typically she was very excited and so she began to write about her feelings as she waited for the time to pass. The result is this gentle story-in-rhyme that mirrors the thoughts and feelings of most expectant parents and their families. Who will this new little life be? And what will their life be like? It traces the things that are done during that nine months from ultrasounds to decorating the nursery, tracking a common journey that very young readers first asking about where they came from will love to know about. It might even reassure parents-in-waiting that anxiety is as normal as anticipation.
Even though this is Ms Ritchie’s story, it is a universal one and Hannah Somerville’s illustrations using such a soft palette take it beyond the personal so it becomes almost a lullaby of love that would serve very well as Baby’s first favourite shared each night. There is so much evidence that even our very youngest children are aware of the harsh realities of life, the differences between their lives and that of their peers, so to have such an affirmation of being loved and wanted and cherished should bring enormous comfort and reassurance.
There is a place and a need for this sort of book and Ms Ritchie has fulfilled it well.
Rock-a-bye pirate, in the crow’s nest Mummy says bedtime, and Mummy knows best. You’ve had your adventures, you’ve sailed the high seas, So under the covers and go to sleep, please.
During the day, this little pirate has all sorts of pirate adventures doing all the things pirates do. But the life of a pirate isn’t all swashbuckling, treasure-seeking and making enemies walk the plank – come nighttime they have to have their dinner, have a bath, wash their hair, get in the PJs and snuggle into bed to listen to a bedtime story. And this smart mummy knows this, turning her boy’s bedtime routine into a pirate-centred lullaby to settle him down and lull him to sleep.
Author of other preschool-friendly stories such as All Aboard the Dinosaur Express, Knapman describes himself as a children’s writer, lyricist and playwright and his way with words, their rhyme and rhythm certainly shines through in this latest offering. Sublimely illustrated so that even the wickedest pirates who ever set sail – Black-Bearded Brewster, Sea Dog McPhail, Cross-Eyed Delaney and Freddy the Fright – become just regular people who go home to their magnificent purpled-hair mum, there is everything that is familiar about pirates in this book as well as things that are not so it is scaled back to become a gentle bedtime story for even the toughest, most adventurous daytime seafarer.
Tomorrow is a very special day for Ella -it’s her birthday party. She finishes writing the invitations and hurries through the woods to deliver them to her friends. But she is so excited she doesn’t realise she has dropped one and that it is picked up by a wizard. And so begins a remarkable journey for the invitation, one that means Ella is going to have the best celebration ever! Wizards, pirates, a princess and all sorts of interesting guests turn up – and each has a tale to tell about how they got there!
Written in rhyme which keeps the pace and action moving at a fast clip, this is a charming story that will engage and delight. Laura Hughes’s bright detailed illustrations are sheer pleasure and the invitation almost comes to life leaving the reader to wonder where it will land next.
As well as engaging young readers in its fun and light-heartedness, it’s also a great vehicle for focusing on sequencing and mapping the story. Positional words such as first, next, after can be explored as a map of the invitation’s journey is constructed. And for those who feel they have to, there is also an opportunity to investigate rhyming patterns as many of the couplets end with words with the same sound but a different spelling pattern.But I think the children will have much more fun thinking of the unique gifts that each character might give Ella for her birthday.
Tyrone T. rex and his Dino Diggers are building a new car factory for Mr Ali O’Saurus. But Ali O’Saurus is impatient and wants things finished immediately. Because the Dino Diggers’ motto is “We never let you down”. everyone starts working at a furious pace but disaster strikes when Tyrone ignores the plans and hits a water main flooding the worksite. Will the Diggers be able to live up to their motto?
This is a book for those who love big machines and dinosaurs as both are combined in a story that moves along at a fast pace with lots of action on each page. Clever use of dinosaur names that little ones always have their tongue around add a dimension to the characters and the bright detailed illustrations will appeal as young readers pore over them. To top it off there is a digger to build from a cardboard cutout, complete with instructions to be followed, offering an opportunity to understand their purpose and the need for correct sequencing, as well as teaching about care and patience -something Tyrone T. Rex seems to lack!.
Great for early childhood with others in the series to help carry what is known about characters from one story to another.
The nee nar nee nar nee nar wail of an ambulance siren is a familiar sound to many young children, particularly those in bigger towns and cities and there are few people who don’t pause to think about its destination and the fate of the person waiting to hear its cry.
In this book for early childhood, we follow the paramedics as they are called to an emergency and see what they do both inside and outside the vehicle. In bold rhyming text it helps dispel some of the fear that often surrounds such situations allowing the young child to have a little insight if they or one of their family or friends ever requires an ambulance.
Clear illustrations and lots of sound and action words give the story pace and vigour and they will love to join in and make the siren sound for you. Even though author and illustrator are a New Zealand team, this is a story that could take place anywhere – some things are universal.
A story that gives reassurance and peace of mind, as well as gratitude that we have access to such emergency services and the perfect starter for learning about how and when to call 000, being able to stay calm and know your name and address.
Mosquitoes can bite all kinds of people–ballerinas, chefs, babies, even you and me. But they can’t bite . . . NINJAS! Mosquitoes might be quick, but ninjas are quicker. Mosquitoes might be sneaky, but ninjas are sneakier. And mosquitoes might be hungry, but ninjas are . . . hungrier!
And Ninjas certainly don’t bite mosquitoes unless…
With a particular television program inspiring mini-Ninjas in playgrounds all over the country, this is an amusing book that pits the greatest scourge of mankind against the power of a Ninja. As well as learning to be Ninjas from an early age, children also learn to recognise that familiar whine of the female mosquito looking for blood and how to slap them dead as soon as they can so they will relate to the peskiness of these creatures and be glad that it meets its end, even if in an ugly way.
The cartoon-like illustrations expand the minimal text very well, adding a lot of character and expression particularly to the mosquito who is clearly intent on doing evil, While there is no actual violence portrayed there are several instances where the mosquito comes off second-best and the reader can use the clues to conclude just what has happened. Perfect for getting young readers to examine the illustrations to make the most of the story.
This is one reader, highly allergic to the venom of these creatures, who would be very glad if MANY mosquitoes were harmed in the making of this book!
How long will I love you? A second is too short. A second is no time for a love of this sort. A minute is no better, for minutes fly by! They’re gone in a moment like a sweet butterfly. Moving through the day, the seasons and then the years, Mother Mouse’s ode to her child and everlasting love will reassure children that they are lovable and loved and will be always. “Love you to the moon and back” is something our little ones hear often but this story, told in rhyme and accompanied by charming pictures that just ooze warmth and love, expresses that concept in a way that little ones can understand. The affirmation that a mother’s love is never-ending, even when our offspring challenge us, is so important and this is a wonderful way of helping them understand that, especially as there are lots of other mums depicted in the pictures. This is a universal feeling, not one confined to Mother Mouse and her baby.
Time is such a nebulous and abstract idea that children find it difficult to get their heads around it, but this delightful story helps to explain it by quantifying the measurements in order. A second is so short we can but blink, but there are many things we can do in an hour or a morning, while nighttime brings its own unique activities and each season its features.
A perfect lullaby-type story to draw the curtains on the day for our little people.
Once there was a gecko and she lived inside a cave. She was very, very small but she was also really brave.
Not only was she brave, but she was also very smart. For inside her cave were three gecko eggs that needed to be guarded day and night because there were many crafty creatures who thought that gecko eggs would make a tasty snack. But she was ready for them and when Snake slithered by at sunrise looking for his breakfast she told him he would need to be very brave because inside the cave were 100 geckos! And just one shout would bring them out. But Snake didn’t have his brave on so he slithered on.
Eagle also thought gecko eggs would make a tasty lunchtime treat but she too turned away when threatened with 100 geckos waiting for her. But come evening, when Rat was looking for his dinner he wasn’t intimidated. In fact he decided to call Mother Gecko’s bluff…
Clever use of rhyme and charming illustrations carry this tale of courage and trickery along and young readers will really enjoy the fact that Mother Gecko can outsmart her enemies. They will also enjoy investigating how echoes are created – they are fascinated by them and whenever you take a child into a tunnel or an underpass or wherever conditions are perfect, they delight in shouting and hearing their voice come back to them. Why does that happen? A perfect kickstart for a science lesson as well as a good story!