As we have seen in his first book Hug, featured previously, Jez Alborough excels at telling stories with minimal words — just five different words this time, to be exact. And once you look at his beautifully expressive illustrations, you will understand why: his drawings already say so much that there’s really no need for words — well OK, just one per page.
In Tall, Bobo the monkey returns, and this time, instead of looking for a hug, he’s now trying his best to be, well, tall.
The simplest stories can be some of the hardest to get right — if it’s too straightforward, it becomes boring; if it’s saddled with unnecessary fluff, it becomes fussy and try-hard. Thus, Little Mouse and the Big Cupcake is a breath of fresh air. Not only is this charming book executed well — with a good story that is complemented with understated pencil illustrations that look as sweet as the giant cupcake on the cover — but it also has a nice, feel-good message about the perks of sharing.
Children are innately curious about everything — hence their never-ending questions for us. Some questions are easier than others to answer, though — for example, anything factual and *ahem* Googleable — while others are more open-ended and tricky. Lucky for us, then, that talented writers and illustrators exist to make our lives a little easier, by doing a lot of the hard thinking and research on our behalf, and then presenting the relevant information to kids in a neat, easy-to-understand yet old-fashioned way, i.e. in printed books.
Counting books are a dime a dozen, and unfortunately, most of them are boring, no-brainer reiterations of the same number/object sequence. Of course, that’s not to say that these don’t serve their purpose for infants, but beyond the age bracket of, say, under 12 months, I think toddlers (and their parents) will need something more creative to sustain their interest.
Enter, stage left, The Number Garden, a quirky book that is the antithesis of a simple counting book — yet it can function as just that if you wish.
There are many alphabet books out there, but none that we’ve read so far have incorporated a credible storyline nor been as funny as this one. The premise of Z Is for Moose is an alphabet theatrical production run by the zebra, who seems to double up as both an actor and the stage manager of sorts. Thus, the animal/person/object representing each letter is introduced alphabetically onstage.
Gertie wakes up with a terrible case of the grumps and proceeds to be mean and grouchy to everyone she encounters. When the cheerful flowers, fishes and sun become as unhappy as her, she feels worse than ever.
This delightful book indulges both the imagination and adventurous spirit of children with the tale of four siblings (and their pets) who, well, got tired of living in a house, so they packed up their things and moved to a treehouse, where they seemed to enjoy themselves.
If you love reading, you must love words to a certain extent. And if so, you must read Sparkle and Spin, which is a delightful celebration of words: the different types and uses of words, and how they relate to sound and expression.