The Snail and the Whale is probably familiar to most of the folks here. But if you’re in the small minority of people who have either never heard of it, or, in a weird case of reverse psychology, stubbornly resisted picking it up precisely because everyone keeps talking about it (ahem *guilty*), then this post is for you.
Sequels are usually a hit-or-miss, and it’s especially tough when the follow-up effort has a lot to live up to — say, a gazillion-copies-sold bestseller such as The Gruffalo, for instance. But, given its pedigree, it would be remiss of me not to give The Gruffalo’s Child a read — and boy am I glad I did, because it may be one of those rare entities: a sequel that’s even better than its acclaimed antecedent.
Thanks to clever marketing and merchandising, some books become more famous than their content warrants; a few even become famous for being famous — for example, all the Dr Seuss books that people seem to know by name, even though they may not have read them or even a clue as to what they are all about.
The Gruffalo falls into this rare and happy — for the authors and publishers, of course — latter category, thanks to its catchy title and the distinctive eponymous character. Fortunately, however, unlike certain bestsellers whose popularity is fuelled by undeservingly being on the bestsellers list in the first place — it’s a vicious cycle — The Gruffalo fully deserves the acclaim and hype that it has garnered in the 14 years since it was first published.
As the title suggests, Goat Goes to Playgroup takes us through what happens when Goat goes to playgroup. Alas he doesn’t always do all the ‘right’ things and gets himself into little accidents — although he always seems to have fun. The illustrations and rhyming text don’t take themselves too seriously, so, all in all, this will be a good book for toddlers who are in, or who are about to join, a playgroup or preschool.
Toddle Waddle is a quirky, original book where each illustration (by Nick Sharratt) is accompanied by one or two words that succinctly describe either the sounds ‘heard’ or actions seen, e.g. a toddler is thus accompanied by ‘toddle’, while the duck is accompanied by ‘waddle’. In the end, we see a whole procession of people and animals with their accompanying descriptors: very cute.