Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour of The Faber Book of Bedtime Stories. I know when my son was younger there was something special and exciting about having your own illustrated short story collection, this is the kind of book you will want to keep coming back to. There are 17 short stories from 17 authors, including some of my favourite authors. The stories, are interesting, varied, and full of heart. I am a big fan of Sarah McIntyre, she was a great choice to illustrate this collection. Her bold and eye-catching pictures really stand out and make this a really special collection.
Anansi and the Curse of the Seven by Ingrid Persaud
Tell us about your story
Ananci the spider lives in Trinidad and in this story we recount his adventures on a visit to London. While there he discovers the curse of the number seven and uses it to steal yummy pies and cheesy bread rolls. But things get tricky when he tries to get a young boy’s birthday cake and finds himself on the wrong end of the curse.
What was your favourite bedtime story as a child?
I was always asking my daddy to read me Three Billy Goats Gruff or The Three Little Pigs. He made scary faces while he read. It still makes me smile to hear these stories.
Ingrid Persuad’s story features two pigeons and a spider called Anasi. It’s set in London, but the story of the Windrush is cleverly woven into it. Scarlet Pigeon is telling her cousins (who have come to visit from Trinidad) Grand Dove and Anansi about when her farther came to England.
“Now, as I was saying. We have to go back a long time to when my daddy came to England on that big ship, Windrush. Things were hard. They came to London looking for a place to live. They walked up and down looking. But, all they saw were signs saying: NO DARK PIGEONS, DOGS or CATS WELCOME”
p109 The Faber book of Bedtime Stories
When the two pigeons go on a camping weekend, Anansi is left home alone. He decides to use the curse of seven to trick local kids when they come back from the bakery, so he can eat what they bought! But, then he meets a young boy who is aware of his trickster ways. What will happen then? Read it to find out!
The Visual appearance of this Story collection and Sarah McIntyres illustrations
There are wonderful illustrations by Sarah McIntyre throughout this collections, which really help to bring the stories to life. Sarah McyIntyre has a great skill at portraying the personality of her characters with humour. I want to highlight two other ways pictures have been used in this collection. In the Contents page, each of the 17 stories has a picture next to the title. What a great way to build excitement in children of all ages when selecting the next story. This could also be used to make predictions on what each story is about. The second visual clue is each story has a little illustrations either side of the page number, a delightful touch with will also help readers locate each story.
Check out the other posts in The Faber Book of Bedtime Stories, see below
Fair shares by Pippa Goodhart and Anna Doherty
A heartwarming, fun and colourful picture book, with an important message about sharing. A bear and a hare both want a pear, but neither can reach them. In their attempt to do so they learn that ‘being fair’ doesn’t always mean ‘getting the same’. I can see this being really popular with children aged 2 to 6 years and their parents/carers. The later whom will really appreciated the way it gives the reader more than one way to look at sharing. Great rhyming language, told in a way that young children will really be able to relate too, and an great twist at the end.
The pictures are vibrant and colourful, making great use of orange, green and yellow. Ann Doherty the illustrator explains at the back page that that the art work was produced digitally, but she scanned textures she had made in pen and ink for the animals fur. The contrast between the two works brilliantly. There are also the most delightful end-pages.
You can find out more about publisher Tiny Owl the publisher and buy the book here.
Thank you to Tiny Owl for a free copy of this book to review.
Oscar Seeks a Friend by Pawel Pawlak
Translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
A truly wonderful story about a friendship between a little girl and a Skeleton. The story has a delightful opening where a Skeleton has lost a tooth and is worried how he looks, then he finds a girl burying a tooth. It gently introduces the characters concerns and worries. As the story progresses they share experiences and show each other their worlds. The story is brought to life and transformed into a unique book by the colourful collage like pictures on every page. There are plenty of possibilities for children to be inspired to do their own art from these pictures. This book will help to open up conversations about friendship and encourage children to have the courage to reach out and ask someone for something or to do something. I am so glad that Lantana Publishing chose to translate this book from Polish so that English children can enjoy it too.
The book is published on 10th October. You can find out more about Lantana Publishing and buy the book here.
Also check out: Library Girl and Book Boys podcast interview with translator Antonia Lloyd-Jones. In which Antonia tells us that author and graphic artist Pawel Pawlak starts his ideas with the character and then the scene and the pictures usually come first before the words. And Antonia talks about some of the challenges she faced translating the puns and hidden assumptions about Skeletons from Polish, and coming up with a new name for the character that would work in English.
Thank you to Lantana Publishing for a free copy this book to review,
Thank Goodness for Bob by Mathew Morgan and Gabriel Aborozo
A story about a boy called Max, who has lot’s of worries and his dog Bob. In a way children will really relate to the story explores some of the things kids worry about. It makes imaginative use of bubbles to put worries in. One day Max discovered Bob the dog is great at listening. And that by talking about his worries to someone that listens they do not feel as big anymore. My favourites pages of the story is where the boy and the dog pop the worry bubbles together. A great book to open up conversations about feelings and worries, but also great for a child to read alone, helping them to realise they are not the only one with worries and that sharing them with someone can help.
All the books are available from me at Readers that Care. And Oscar Seeks a friend is one of the hardback books available to my £40 a term members in my 2 for £10 termly offer.
Published by Tiny Owl Books.
Dare is one of those children’s stories, that even as an adult makes me smile every time I pick it up. Younger children will love the simple fun and inspiring poem by Loran Gutierrez, and noticing all the things the children from diverse backgrounds do. Older readers and adults will also pick up on the many positive messages about: being yourself, reaching out to others, standing up for what you believe in and daring to be you.
The illustrator Polly Noakes brings the story to life with her unique illustration style. I am already a big fan of the illustrator, but am more familiar with here drawing animals rather than people. Polly draws a wonderful group of diverse children that appear in the story doing all sorts of things, some of which challenge gender stereotypes. Such as a girl aspiring to be an astronaut and, a boy dressing up in a skirt. The girl anspiring to be an astronaut especially resonated with my daughter, as when she was younger she got very frustrated when all she saw in books about space (including some non-fiction books) were ones with boys or men
The core messages of this story will appeal to children and adults of all ages. It is a fun story to read aloud which also has important messages about: taking part, reaching out and, being yourself. It also invite’s the reader to appreciate quite times, and encourages children to be comfortable with their own company. Both of which are really important for fostering well-being, in a world often full of business and noise.
A fun, playful, heart-warming and empowering story that, I would highly recommend for every school and home library.
Here is the second half of the poem:
“Dare to be your own best friend
Dare to enjoy a silent night
Dare to be a shining light,
Dare to be who you truly are
A light in the dark
Be you a star”
Thank you to the publishers Tiny Owl for a review copy of this book. On their website they have a free International Womens’ Day poster to download.
You can buy from me at Readers that Care or your local bookshop.
Having taken a particular interest in stories that represent children from all sorts of backgrounds. I have noticed that it is only in some of them that the BAME (1) children are doing everyday things, and where their culture or background is not the focus of the story. In this blog post I wanted to highlight some stories that do this particularly well through four mini-reviews. Two of them are picture books and the others are illustrated short chapter books.
Jabari Jumps – Gia Cornwall
published by Walker Books
This story deals with a child’s first experience of doing something in a most delightful way. The story is about being scared to do something new, but then finding the courage to have a go. This is something any child or parent can identify with. Jabari, with gentle encouragement from his dad (who lets him take his time), finds he has the courage to overcome his fear, and to jump off the high diving board for the first time. Gia Cornwall has made great use of soft and bright colours in her illustrations, which are really effective in helping to convey the feelings in the moment. These include scenes by the poolside, and mini-snapshots of Jabri as he takes each small step to the high board. This is sure to inspire children of all ages to have a go.
Lulu Loves Flowers – Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw
published by Alanna MAX books.
This is one of several Lulu stories. It takes you through the steps Lulu, and her mother take to grow some flowers, fruit and vegetables from seed, in a way that even very young children will be able to relate to. Then they share what they have grown at the end with Lulu’s friends. I have found that many young children are fascinated by things that grow. Anna McQuinn has taken a common theme and added her own special twist. These include: a lovely connection with the nursery rhyme: ‘Mary Mary Quite Contrary’ and; a visit to the library to look up the flowers they want to grow. There is plenty for young children to spot in the illustrations and talk about. Hopefully this will inspire more children and their parents to have ago at gardening too.
Great Telephone Mix-up – Sally Nicholls and Sheena Dempsey
published by Barrington and Stoke
My son read this when he was in year 2. It was one of his favourite Little Gem stories a collection of stories with different authors and illustrators for children aged 6 to 9 years, published by Barrington Stoke. They also have Dyslexia friendly font and pages, but are great for children of all reading abilities.
At the start of the story the telephone lines go down in the village. You are then introduced to each character and/or family in the village. The colourful illustrations of Sheena Dempsey really bring the characters to life. It’s clever as the physical features of the characters aren’t actually mentioned in the story so you need to look at the pictures to find out, although the names might give you a bit of clue. The BAME (1) characters are two adults, called Jai and Aditi, which again is a clever touch. They are not the only ‘reflecting realities’ characters in the book. It’s surprising how rarely you see any children or adults in a picture book wearing glasses. It is great to have a grandma wearing glasses. And some read haired people that are just part of the story, and their hair colour isn’t used to convey a message.
The next day the phone lines are reconnected, some brilliant conversations between the characters follow. Soon you realise the phone lines have been mixed up, and different villagers are getting other people’s calls. My son thought this was really funny. What follows is a brilliant piece of storytelling where the reader and the characters are trying to work out who’s message’s they are getting. This leads to them helping each other, and understanding their neighbours a little better.
Mint Choc Chip at the Market Café – Jonathan Meres and Hannah Coulson
Published by Barrington and Stoke
Another great book in the Little Gem collection, by Barrington and Stoke. I would recommend this for slightly older children aged 7+ years,
At the start of the story the main character Priya tells the reader three of her favourite weekly things to do: football on Tuesday, science club on Friday and helping at her parent’s pet stall in the local market on Saturday. It is a heart-warming story. Priya learns that unexpected events do not necessarily lead to disaster, and that having an ice-cream with her Nana-ji (Nana) can always make her feel better. I especially like the bit where the girl and her Nana-ji go to the Café for an ice-cream, which is beautifully brought to life by Hannah Coulson’s illustrations. I also really like that when Priya and Nana-ji are talking in the Cafe you get hints of the girl living in two cultures, but this is just part of the conversation. For example when Priya recalls her mum making Kulfi.
“Because Nana-ji always said there was not problem that couldn’t be solved by a delicious bowl of ice-cream”
(1) BAME – Black, Asian, and ethnic minority people
You can buy the books from me at Readers that Care, or a good local bookshop.
You can find out more Barrington Stokes Little Gems here
Small independent publisher Alanna Max Books have more great stories with diverse characters.
My son has been extremely lucky to have 3 and half years of excellent teaching from his teachers, and I could not have asked for more from any of them. Anyone observing his engagement with reading, now aged 8 years, who rightly come to the conclusion that not only can he read, that he is a child who want to read and when he finds the right book he clearly takes pleasure from doing so. Some people may also assume that he was always going to be a ‘reader’. However, I believe that there were a few significant things that happened in school and at home in his first two years of school, which laid the foundations which made it possible for him to become the reader he is today.
When my son was in reception, he very much liked routine, and this was something his reception teacher clearly understood. So when it came to talking about the transition to year 1. She made sure that my son’s new teacher had some similar routines to her. What was interesting was the similarity in those routines, concerned the way books were used at the beginning and end of each day. What I only realised much later was that same routine’s that had enabled my son to feel comfortable with school, to connect to school and to build connections with other children had together with regular reading aloud at home been fundamental in laying the foundations for reading for pleasure.
When my son started school, he had a few favourite books, including a book on recycling (which was aimed at older kids). He was however often more interested in watching Number Jacks or telling us all about recycling or the planets in space than he was listening to a story. He could not hold a pencil, and when he started he had little knowledge of phonics. However, thanks to the support of his brilliant reception teacher and some of his new friends he was able to adapt to life in school. The teaching of phonics was very good and this combined with us signing him up at home for Reading Eggs, meant he made steady progress with his phonics. Before, long he said: ‘mummy it’s just like maths there is a code to crack’.
But, this isn’t a blog post about the teaching of reading skills or literacy in the early years. It’s about how a partnership of school and home, which consistently prioritised reading aloud and ‘informal’ regular spaces to share and enjoy books, won a boy round that wasn’t yet (when he started school) entirely convinced that stories were relevant to him.
Books relevant to children at the start of each day – time to explore and share
Both his reception and year 1 teacher started their school day in the same way. With books next to the children where they sat. For reception this was books on the carpet. On my son’s first day his teacher made sure he had a book on recycling next to the place where he was to sit. I could have hugged her! In year 1, his teacher had a book shelf from which children could select their books at the start of the day. One of my son’s favourite books was Miles Kelly’s 100 Facts About Planet Earth. He and a few other kids in his class spent weeks looking over that book. Several of the children in his year 1 and 2 class brought in their own books to share. This worked really well for my son as one of the older kids loved non-fiction and brought some of those to share.
Afternoon Read Aloud
Both teachers read a story aloud at the same time in the afternoon most days. Which meant my son knew for two consecutive years, that that time of day was story-time. About Easter of reception the topic was: things that grow. One of his favourite books at the time was: ‘What’s This? – a seed’s story’, published by Barefoot Books. I gave a copy to his teacher who shared it in story-time. We continued this into year 1. I was bit nervous about what he was going to make of a dinosaur topic, as he has never shown the slightest bit of interest in them. In the summer holidays after reception he had really enjoyed being read the Mr Men books (drawn to them initially as they were numbered on the side and all ordered in a case). I found a book called: ‘Mr Men Adventures with Dinosaurs’ and gave a copy to his year 1 teacher, so she could share it at story-time and he could look at it with his friends.
Reading Aloud at home, and sharing this with his sister
For two consecutive years (reception to end year 1) we read picture books aloud most nights to my son and his sister (who was two and half year’s older). This was as well as the book they read themselves. In reception two of my son’s favourite books to have read aloud were: ‘Wendel and the Robot’, by Chris Riddell, and ‘Boy who turned off the Sun’, by Paul Brown. When my son was in year 1, they started to develop books in common that they both loved. Both children have always been very particular about the books they like, so it was fascinating to see which books they both enjoyed. These included: ‘Errol the Squirrel’ by Hannah Shaw, and ‘The Day the Crayon’s Quit’. I have blogged about some of them here. Had my daughter not had such a challenging year 3 (year my son was in reception) it is possible she would have stopped being interested in being read picture books earlier. But, sharing picture books together at home is something I think they both have hugely benefited from, and which I would highly recommend to any family.
There was of course so much more each of his teachers did, we did, and my son did to get him to where he is now with his reading. But, with the benefit of hindsight I firmly believe that it was these relatively simple things, repeated consistently over several years, that convinced my son that reading could be meaningful to him. However, as I had already discovered a few years earlier with his sister, making good reading progress and enjoying being read stories aloud is not a guarantee that a child is going to successfully make the transition from school readers to independent reading. However, it does make it more likely! He did go through a wobbly phase with his reading from June of year 1 to November of year 2. And I wasn’t quite sure which way things were going to go. But, at that time I had not understood as clearly as I do now the importance of ‘reading communities ‘in developing readers, and that they can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Had I understand this I may not have been so nervous, about whether he would be able to negotiate the next stage in his reading journey. We were also lucky in the summer of 2017 to find in a relatively short space of time three book that really meant something to my son, that he read to us. Two of which were almost accidental finds, and one of which (the coding book) was given to my kids by his Yorkshire granddad.
It was fantastic to be given a copy of Kaya’s Heart Song to review from the publishers Lantana Publishing. It is about a girl called Kaya, who lives in the Malaysian rainforest. This is her story of how she finds her own heart song. It is a heartwarming, joyful and beautiful story created by the combined talent of author Diwa Tharan Sanders and illustrator Nerina Canzi. As some of you may know I am quite used to reading and sharing wonderful stories with stunning illustrations, but there are few books I have read where the interplay between the two is so seamless it is as if they were one and the same thing.
At the start of the story Kaya has a conversation with her mother in which she explains if you quieten your mind you will find your heart song. Then she runs off to the rainforest. This instantly reminded me of how spending time in nature helps me to quieten my own mind and to centre me. I was excited by the rainforest setting of this story which were so beautifully brought to life in vibrant colour by Nerina Canzi’s illustrations. As about 20 years ago I spent 3 months in the rainforest of Borneo (Eastern Malaysia), and it brought back some memories. However, what surprised me was how this story also reminded me of our family visits to local woodlands and of being in nature, when everything else is forgotten and you are just in the moment.
Kaya follows a butterfly and it takes her into a part of the rainforest she has not been to before. Where behind closed doors she finds an abandoned colourful Elephant carousel. Kaya’s first instinct is to climb onto the carousel and to start to uncurl the vines that are wrapped around it and whilst she does so her imagination wanders and her mind quietens and it is then that she finds her heart song and as her mother said is when ‘magic happens’.
Maya’s journey into the rainforest seems to reflect the human desire to explore and seek out new things, and that when you pause you sometimes see things differently too. I love how the story brings Yoga into the outdoors and opens up new interpretations of mindfulness which will resonate with many people, but perhaps especially those that enjoy spending time outdoors.
I would highly recommend this story to everyone aged 6 to 99 years. It may be suitable for some younger children. It is a heartwarming, thoughtful story that reminds us that when we do things we enjoy and immerse our selves in the moment, so that all other things are forgotten we can find peace, but also open ourselves up to new possibilities and maybe magic.
A final note:
For some children and adults this is a story that may need re reading and exploring before its message sinks in or the reader is able to interpret it in a way that is meaningful to them. In that respect my conversations with the author Diwa Tharan Sanders for my guest post on the Kaya Heart Song blog tour helped me to explore this book and what it meant to me. You can read it here.
Read my Kaya’s Heart Song Blog Tour Interview with the author and learn some of the things that inspired her to write this great story here
Find out more about the author and illustrator and buy the book from Lantana Publishing website.
You can also order copies of the books from me at Readers that Care, and earn free books for you school at the same time.
I am delighted to welcome author Diwa Tharan Sanders as a guest on my blog Reading Pebbles today. Here are her responses to my interview questions. It was a pleasure to chat to her.
What inspired you to write a story about mindfulness?
And why is it set in the Jungles of Malaysia?
To be honest, the mindfulness theme happened ‘by accident’. What sparked my imagination for this book and inspired me was I wanted to write a story about “a girl who wanted to be happy”. And as I started dissecting what being happy meant to me, the idea of music and a heart song came up as a way of expressing true, authentic happiness, which to me comes from being in tune (no pun intended!) with your heart. Listening to the heart and coming out of the mind, is one way I would describe mindfulness.
I chose the jungle of Malaysia as a setting for the story not only because I’m Malaysian, but I also wanted to reflect where I was from a personal and creative perspective. When I wrote Kaya’s Heart Song, I was living on a beautiful tropical island with a 120-year old rainforest around us. I love being in nature and connecting to its beautiful energy, which I find inspiring, grounding and even mysterious sometimes. These elements really excited me to set a story in the jungle and I felt like there was no other setting more appropriate to do so.
Below are some pictures Diwa took in the rainforest in Malaysia, and I can see why she finds it a magical place.
Why is special about a ‘heart song’?
A heart song is special because if you consider how it’s described in the story, it creates magic! Everyone has a heart song, we just have to remember to listen to it. I imagine that a heart song is something that is unique to each person, but it also changes and can reflect what is happening in our daily life at that specific moment and the emotions one is feeling. That’s what being mindful means – being able to be in the moment and to tune in to what is going on.
I am interested in how authors and illustrators work together to co-create a picture book. When you were writing the story what sort of pictures did you imagine?
This is my first picture book and I have to say that I am incredibly lucky to have been able to work with Nerina Canzi. I had an idea of what Kaya could look like and I described that to Nerina, along with some pictures. I also shared some pictures of Malaysian rainforests with her. And to be honest, that was the extent of my creative input! I was and still are completely moved and blown away at how she captured the essence of Kaya and the story through her stunning and beautiful illustrations. They are pure magic and have brought so much inspiration and light to the story. Working with her has been an absolute blessing and joy.
You can read my review of Kaya’s Heart Song here.
Find out more about the author and illustrator and buy the book from Lantana Publishing website.
You can also order copies of the books from me at Readers that Care, and earn free books for you school at the same time.
My husband and I have enjoyed reading picture books to our children since they were very little. My daughter took to the idea quickly, whilst it took my son a little longer to get the idea. However, I realised recently that both my children have always been quite particular about which books they liked. I didn’t initially notice this about my daughter, as her favourite books as a young child were the kind of stories that have plenty more to explore as you get older. With my son we learnt early on that there is a ‘right time’ for some stories, when Wendel and the Robot’s by Chris Riddell sat ignored on his bookshelf for over a year and then became his favourite book for the next 2 years! My kids are now aged 6 and 9 years. I take particular note of any picture books that fully engage both of them, as it takes a special kind of book to do that. Here are 9 of our favourites, All are great for reading aloud to children of different ages.
The rhyming text, and the story of a child taking the moon for a walk make this a real winner. Put, that together with Alison Jay’s picture which are both bold and detailed and you have a story which is truly special. It is a story that flows beautifully, but where there is also lot’s to spot and look at in the pictures. It is one of our favourite of all time picture books, and has probably helped foster my children’s love of the outdoors.
Great for children aged 1 to 6 years
This is a beautifully illustrated animal encyclopaedia for younger children. What set’s it apart from other encyclopaedia’s is the innovative way it organises the Animal Kingdom, and the way it uses both pictures and words in it’s content pages. This means the very young can select which animals they want to learn about by looking at the pictures. The stunning illustrations, clear and concise text and fun way of organising the animals also make this appeal to older children too. My children love taking it turns to choose which group of animals they would like to find out about.
This is a simple story. It is about a Robot that looses his bottom and spends the rest of the story trying to find it. There is something endearing about a main character loosing his bottom on a park swing, and it is really amusing when he keeps thinking he has found it! Sue Hendra beautifully captures the emotions of the Robot and his friends that are trying to help him find his bottom.
The Day the Crayons Came Home, author Drew Daywalt, illustrator Oliver Jeffers
We love the Day the Crayons quit, but we love the sequel even more! It is great to have the story of the crayons continued and developed in book 2. I think this is one of the things my eldest really relates too. The stories are based on the great idea of a set of crayons which write letters or postcards to their owner Duncan. The story cleverly captures the emotions of the crayons and there are also different levels on which to relate to the story, which make it a great read aloud for children of different ages. On the last page there is a cardboard fort which Duncan has built for his crayons. My kids love identifying the different crayons and working out why they are shown like that and/or if their needs have been met. On one occasion it even inspired my children to make their own crayon forts!
Mr Postman’s Rounds by Marianne Dubuc
I only discovered this book because of the research I was doing into picture books as an indepedent seller of children’s books. I am so glad I did, as it’s such a unique book. The journey narrative is really important in keeping the listeners interested. We have had fun trying to remember which animal the postman is visiting next. The illustrations are great and provide plenty of detail to look at, talk about and things to count. We especially like that the animals homes are drawn as cross sections, and that you can make connections within the picture, whether it’s how the bear get’s to feed himself honey, how the crocodile heats his eggs or that the Magpie is a wanted bird for something that he is has hoarded in his nest. This is the additional story that only the pictures tell.
Edgar and the Sausage Inspector by Jan Fearnley
This is one of our new favourites which was published earlier this year, and which both my children love. Jan Fearnley is both author and illustrator. The story is about a cat called Edgar who every time he goes shopping bumps into the Inspector, who takes Edgar’s food claiming it has gone bad. Finally Edgar has had enough and it is great when he stands up to the Inspector. With a modern day freshness the illustrations capture the same magic as my daughters favourite stories as a young child by Clare Beaton and Alison Jay, but in a story that is aimed at older children. Jan Fearnley creates pictures that are bold and eye catching and which capture the journey and narrative well, and that have lots of detail to explore too. Including lot’s of food you want to pick right off the page!
Superworm by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
This is a wonderful catchy, rhyming story, which is the kind of story Julia Donaldson is popular for. It is about a worm who helps all his fellow insects, but one day he is captured by an evil wizard and his friends come up with a plan to rescue him. Axel Scheffler’s illustrations are spot on and brilliantly capture the worm and his relationship with the other insects. We especially like the cross-section picture of the worm underground trying to find treasure for the wizard. The way Superworm is rescued by his friends is pretty cool too! My son has been crazy about all things recycling since he was 3 years old, So for him the fact that the wizard is thrown in a rubbish dump is a great addition to the story and he loves identifying the different things you can find in the tip.
Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory by Elys Dolan
Another new favourite which was published this year, is by talented debut author and illustrator Elys Dolan. This story is based on such a great idea of a factory run by Mr Bunny, which produces chocolate egg’s that are laid by chickens. The detailed pictures of how the factory actually works really grabbed my kids attention.They love working out how the different parts are interconnected and what is about to go wrong. In the story Mr Bunny get’s greedy and makes some not so wise changes to produce even more eggs. This provides a great double layer to the story, of before and after, where my kids love comparing the two. It also prompted them to suggest some solutions of their own of what the chickens could do to deal with the increasing stock pile of eggs. I have a feeling we will be enjoying this book for many more years to come.
Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola
This beautifully illustrated story is an Italian twist on the traditional story of the Magic Porridge Pot, which is also one of my son’s favourite stories. Strega Nona, translates as “Grandma Witch’. The story is about an old woman who has a magic touch in healing people. One day she decides to go over the mountain to visit her friend and leaves her helper a young lad called Big Anthony in charge. He can not resist using Strega Nona’s magic pot, which magically produces something. Can you guess (what are the Italians famous for?) Spaghetti of course! However Anthony fails to overhear what Strega Nona does to stops the magic pot. Both my kids love it when the spaghetti starts to spread out of the pot and down the road of the village! Strega Nona arrives back in the nick of time. Some of the pages have beautifully illustrated sequences that help tell the story. As we have Italian relatives we also like that this tale sneeks in a few Italian words.