REVIEW: Children’s books

Great books for the children

Me and You By Anthony Browne

Although Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne has always been a favourite of our bedtime reading sessions You and Me failed, on first reading, to delight. The contrast between the cute illustrations of the three bears and the stark depiction of a modern day Goldilocks is a different slant on the traditional tale, but Lily found the different styles distracting, asking repeatedly why the pictures didn’t match and, when we reached the end, if she could have the ‘proper’ story. Something must have resonated however, as she asked for it again the next night. This time the story prompted a long chat about the rights and wrongs of taking things that don’t belong to you, and what it might be like to be cold, hungry and alone. Clever and thought provoking, I suspect Me and You will quickly become a favourite.

Pants and More Pants

By Giles Andreae and Nick Sharratt

Let’s face it, whatever your age pants are downright funny! In this brilliant book (two books in one volume, in fact) Giles Andreae has created a hilarious romp for little readers, stuffed full of laugh-out-loud rhymes. Accompanied by Nick Sharratt’s bright, bold and comedic illustrations, this double-whammy celebration of undies is great for developing a basic understanding of rhyme and tempo. In this knickertastic read, giggles galore are guaranteed!

Ella Moves House

By Angela Hassall

A helpful book for small children whose parents are settling down with a new partner, the story gently reassures young readers that while moving (and moving on) can be scary, some things remain comfortingly familiar and constant, making transitions easier than perhaps one might imagine. Well observed from a child’s perspective and with lovely illustrations that tell the story page by page, Lily was able to ‘read’ the book herself just by following the pictures.

Baby Ruby Bawled

By Malaika Rose Stanley

Lily was delighted that the older brother was the one to be able to settle the baby of the title, saying that she would have done the same (soothing singing). However, she wasn’t overly keen on Ken Wilson-Max’s illustrations, commenting that some of the grown-ups looked ‘cross and angry’. A useful book to read with small children who are anticipating the arrival of a new sibling.

Molly and the Night Monster

By Chris Wormell

A book that deals with imaginary nocturnal monsters, Molly is sure that she can hear something stealing into her bedroom. An elephant? A crocodile? Maybe even a growling bear! But of course in the dark fear escalates and it is easy to let your imagination run riot when the reality, of course, is not is not in the least bit scary. A fear-allaying book with a comforting conclusion, accompanied by compelling illustrations, this is bedtime read that will go a long way in ensuring sweet dreams.

The Day the Rains Fell

By Ann Faundez

A charming story that follows Lindiwe and her daughter Thandi as they try to restore the Earth and its animals to health, the message about how precious water is beautifully done. Informative, inspiring and exciting in equal measure, Lily adored the illustrations (by Karin Littlewood), which are so rich and evocative that you can almost feel the rumble of thunder. A lovely touch is the factual details at the end of the story about the significance of beads and water pots in Africa.

More Katie Morag Island Stories

By Mairi Hedderwick

Comprising four stories this title has much to recommend it. Lyrical, and written with a warmth that transcends the page, Katie Morag leads the idyllic country life. Although the community in which she dwells is small and close-knit there is nevertheless plenty of scope for adventure on the Isle of Struay. This swiftly became a firm favourite with Lily, who loved the detailed illustrations so much that she happily sat for almost half-an-hour looking at them, explaining what was happening in each picture. Delightfully quaint, the Katie Morag books will charm adults and children alike.

Princess Poppy: Get Well Soon

By Janet Louise Jones

Princess Poppy is worried about Grandpa, who is not well at all. Unable to concentrate on practising for her gym competition, it is an anxious time for Poppy and the residents of Honeypot Hill. Finding herself rethinking her priorities, Poppy ultimately discovers that some disappointments aren’t that disappointing after all. As ever illustrations by Veronica Vasylenko had Lily captivated, prompting lengthy conversations about Poppy’s various dresses and the houses belonging to each character. Another enchanting book in the hugely popular Princess Poppy series, this title comes complete with an audio CD

Vicky Edwards