Goodnight Little Bunny, Goodnight Little Duckling, Amanda Wood, MAGIC CAT PUBLISHING, ISBN 9781916180505;9781916180543, hardcover, each RRP $18.99

Goodnight Little Bunny, Goodnight Little Duckling, Amanda Wood, MAGIC CAT PUBLISHING, ISBN 9781916180505;9781916180543, hardcover, each RRP $18.99

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These two books are part of a series of simple bedtime stories for younger children.

Each main character is shown as a photograph of a young animal against a background of paintings and drawings that include creatures, foliage, water and all the other characters they encounter in their individual story.

Little Bunny is scared to leave her safe burrow. Her friend, Mouse encourages her to explore the world outside of her burrow, explaining that Little Bunny is fully equipped to handle anything she may encounter.

Suddenly Little Bunny is alone so she begins to practice all the skills she has: twitching her nose and hopping through the …spring grass and so on.

I don’t wish to spoil the rest of the story suffice to say Little Bunny ends up realising she can leave her safe burrow the next day and the day after because she is …very good at being a bunny…

Little Duckling is newly hatched and despite his mother’s warnings he leaves the safety of their nest when Big Duck goes off to find him some food.

Little Duckling encounters adventures along his journey to get back home, ending the story safe and sound.

I enjoyed the story of Goodnight Little Bunny to the Little Duckling. As well I thought the illustrations were more complex with the Little Bunny blending in better with the combination of photographs and painting/drawing illustrations.

Still not sure about this illustrative technique, preferring a better ratio, rather than just the main character being a photograph.

Sharon Greenaway

22/08/2020.

 

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My Mama, Annemarie van Haeringen, Gecko Press, 2020, ISBN 9781776572687, paperback.

my mama

Once in a while a picture story book comes along that touches my heart. My Mama is one such book.

The story is about the relationship between a young elephant and his mother. The story is told in the first person and is so delightful and innocent in its telling.

Perhaps my favourite line in the story comes at the beginning… ‘I’ve known my mama for a long time. For my whole life actually…’

As to whether the protagonist is male or female is irrelevant to the story. For those who would like to know they need to enjoy a lot of the story before finding out when the young elephant is helping to water the garden. (For those who have boys in their family they will be able to appreciate this scene particularly.)

Mama and the young elephant are the best of friends. They have wonderful times playing cars, reading books, going shopping or playing peek a book. However there are times when Mama has to be Mama and teach what is right and wrong to the little fella.

Apart from the opening page that shows Mama with a pregnant belly, each double page spread features Mama and the young elephant. Set against a white background it serves to give the sense of a safe cocoon wrapping the two into a special unique bond.

The end papers feature the stars from the elephant’s clothes which are discarded at the end of the book, to be worn the next day.

I am not sure as the significance of this, but it doesn’t spoil the story for me.

Recommended,

Sharon Greenaway 14th August 2020.

 

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The Stone Giant

The Stone Giant, Anna Hoglund, translated by Julia Marshall, 2020. Gecko Press, ISBN 978 1 776572 73 1, hb, $24.99

THE STONE GIANT

I love the tactile nature of the cover of this book. Before you even open the cover, the embossed title, gold lettering on the fabric covered spine reminds you of classic fairy tales of years gone by. The stone like mirror on the back cover adds to the intrigue and so the reader wants to know more about the tale of The Stone Giant.

The hero of this book is a young girl left alone on a small island while her father goes off to fight the stone giant.

Days and nights pass and the girl’s father does not return. Finally the brave child sets off to find her father, armed only with her mirror and a knife, and accompanied only by a little blue bird. She plunges steadfastly into the waters that surround her island, swimming until she gets to land. From here the child needs to travel far, encountering only one living helpful soul on her way, until at last she meets the stone giant.

Does the child beat the giant? You will need to read for yourself this tale for yourself.

The reader never gets to know the child’s name which is I think is unusual in modern children’s literature; but at the same time it can encourage any child to put themselves into the shoes of the hero.

And a hero she is. Can you imagine what it would be like to be left alone while your father goes off to fight a monster? And to then decide to take on the battle yourself?

The illustrations serve to enhance the feeling of loneliness and fear the hero would have been felling. They are such a contrast to the bright marbled end papers compared to the largely monochromatic illustrations within the book. The child is dressed in red which once again gives a nod to that well known fairy tale ‘Little red riding hood’.

A tale for a school aged child seeking adventure.

Sharon Greenaway

24th July 2020.

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ELLIE’S DRAGON by BOB GRAHAM

Ellie’s Dragon, Bob Graham, Walker Books, 2020. ISBN 9781406387629, Hb $27.99

ELLIES_DRAGON_2020

Bob Graham is an Australian Kate Greenaway-winning author-illustrator who has written and illustrated many acclaimed children’s picture books since his first book (Pete and Roland) was published in 1981.

A new book by Graham comes out in 2020, Ellie’s Dragon. It explores what happens when Ellie finds a baby dragon in the supermarket and takes him home.

What will Ellie call her dragon? Where will he sleep? What does he like to eat? What will Ellie’s mum say when or if she sees the Dragon? These questions may be asked by the curious reader from the beginning and Graham answers them imaginatively in both text and illustrations. There is a slow peaceful feel to the layout of the book, each double page delightfully showing a piece of the story. In the first few pages of the story probably my favourite illustration is of the dragon’s home –Ellie’s dollhouse. It seems such a good use of a doll house, a home to childlike imaginations.

As Ellie grows so does her dragon and he accompanies Ellie to nursery school, where all the children are entranced by the dragon and yet, just like her mum, ‘…the teacher saw nothing.’

Ellie and her dragon continue to grow in the story.

When Ellie starts school, does she take her dragon along? I am not going to spoil the story by answering this or anything else about how the narrative unfolds.

You will have to get your own copy of this wonderful tale. Suffice to say I did end up with a lump in my throat as I turned the final page.

In true masterful full-circle tales the end papers begin and end the tale of Ellie’s dragon in the supermarket, where it all began.

A touching story that I highly recommend.

Sharon Greenaway

23rd July 2020.

 

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Ten Little Figs, Rhian Williams, Nathaniel Eckstrom

Ten Little Figs, Rhian Williams, Nathaniel Eckstrom, Walker Books, 2020, rrp $24.99 Hb, isbn 9781921977312.

A delightful counting down book featuring a young child, his/her dog and a fig tree.

Beginning with the opening page …‘10 little figs are on my tree. I love figs and they’re all for me.’… we are drawn into the child’s world of wonder and questioning as at each the turn of a page a fig disappears.

Where do they go? Who takes them? Will there be any left for the child by the end of the story?

These are the questions we ask as we turn the pages and scour the clue filled pages for clues.

One by one the figs are taken by a selection of creatures that are all Australian and can be found in many backyards. I particularly loved this fact, reading about creatures from our country that many people may not realise are native…even the fig tree is a local!

The rhyming text is matched delightfully with colourful, fun illustrations. The expressions on the faces of the mischievous creatures are very funny and I love the eye glass the child uses for the 7 little figs page; such a lovely extra piece to the story.

I can see many parents/grandparents/carers reading this story to their young charges, laughing along with them.

The end page has a countdown of the figs along with a reminder of who ate them, such a nice way to recount the tale.

A lovely book that I am looking forward to reading with my grandson when the Covid19 restrictions are lifted.

Sharon Greenaway

30th April 2020.

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