We’re big fans of the dynamic duo of Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, who create stunning non-fiction picture books that really appeal to children. The Caldecott Honor What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? — which we own and reviewed previously — is my son’s favourite non-fiction book. Well, at least it was until he was introduced to Animals Upside Down.
Nuts to You! is a cute account of a rascally squirrel’s foraging adventure, as observed by a justifiably excited child. The first-person reporting style and lively rhyming text also allow the reader to vicariously experience the child’s obvious thrill about having such a close brush with the squirrel.
The Story Of Ferdinand is the story of, well, a little bull named Ferdinand, and how he is
unlike all the other bulls in Spain in that he is a gentle soul who isn’t at all interested in butting his horns into anything, let alone be picked for the ‘privilege’ of being in a bullfight. But, of course, fate being a funny thing, he ends up being chosen for exactly that.
While children may own dozens of pieces of clothing which they can mix and match around with such that each item gets worn at most twice a week, unless their parents are unusually indulgent, most own an average of just two to three pairs of shoes that suffice to take them through all their traipsing and adventuring for the entire year — it’s no wonder that some kids are emotionally attached to their faithful sole companions!
Consequently, getting a new pair of shoes is cause for excitement since it usually means that the child has outgrown his or her old (and well-worn) ones.
Frankly, having a dinosaur on regular roads alongside other vehicles is a recipe for disaster, but it does make for a fun children’s-book premise. After all, which kid can resist the idea of a friendly, lovable dinosaur transporting them to school every day?
In this day and age of globalisation and digital citizenship, one would think that overbearing censorship practices — especially when the dubiously ‘controversial’ material in question is widely available elsewhere in the world or, better yet, one Google search away on the internet — are not only pointless, but also pathetically archaic and, in many cases, reflect the narrow-minded prejudices of the ‘powers-that-be’.
Egg Drop is a quirky and original twist on Humpty Dumpty, but instead of sitting on a wall, the unnamed egg in the story has a literally flighty dream — that of soaring in the skies. Of course, if you recall the plight of Humpty Dumpty, you’ll know that this egg doesn’t have a very happy ending.
If my own experience and that of my kids are anything to go by, the dynamics between siblings can get pretty darn complicated even at a young age. While I won’t go so far as to describe it as a ‘love-hate’ relationship, it can swing between less drastic, but no less dramatic, extremes — say, ‘growl-giggle’, ‘claw-cuddle’ or ‘share-snatch’ — particularly throughout the growing-up years. As such, anyone who has a sibling will be able to relate to Chloe, Instead, a sweet book about the eponymous little girl, as told from her big sister’s perspective.
Like many kids, the unnamed boy in Melvin and the Boy longs to have a pet — especially when it seems like all the other children in the neighbourhood have one. But just when he thinks he’s found the perfect pet — a little turtle that he brings home from the park and which he names Melvin — in spite of his best intentions, things don’t turn out according to plan.
One of the biggest worries when it comes to packing, whether it’s to move to a new house, or when you’re going for or returning from a holiday, is forgetting something and leaving it behind. In what must be every pet owner’s nightmare, the family in Lost Cat accidentally leave their pet cat behind in the midst of their house-moving frenzy.
As for their cat Slipper, well, I think we can all surmise how it feels to be stranded and abandoned (albeit not on purpose), not least from those big, sad peepers staring out from the book cover.