Saturday, September 24, 2011

Picture Books for Early Childhood

Stomp! by Ruth Paul (Scholastic)

STOMP through the swamp
Over the hump JUMP
In the jungle ROAR
Swish your tail and THUMP

So go the dinosaurs on their stomp through the swamp. They squish-squash berries, hop over rocks, until they stop and cause a dinosaur jam.  Then they turn around and swing through the swamp the other way until something happens to their leader...

Ruth Paul's artwork is gorgeous - totally appealing to the four and under target audience. I can see kindergarten's having a lot of fun with this book.  The kids will take turns being the leader as they stomp around the kindergarten doing all the fun things dinosaurs do. On further readings children will notice the onomatopoeia words in smaller print; and perhaps will come up with some of their own.

Scholastic has published the book on glossed card, which will ensure little hands won't bend the pages in their excitement to read the book. The book's A3 size enables groups of 40 children to see the illustrations and print easily too.  Ruth Paul has created the illustrations in pencil and then coloured it in Photoshop on the computer. She co-designed the book with Vida Kelly.

Ruth's other books include: The Animal Undie Ball, Superpotamus, Two Little Pirates and The King's Bubbles.

A must have for Under fours and all kindergartens!

Tarantula Boo! by Lucy Davey, Illustrated by Philip Webb (Scholastic)

Safe behind glass at Zurlington Zoo,
lived loveable larrikin Lenny Lassoo.
Lenny was furry and fuzzy and hairy,
and liked to play tricks that were frightfully SCARY.

Lenny Lassoo loves to play tricks at the zoo - his favourite game is Tarantula Boo! He waits until school children press their noses against the glass then out he jumps from hiding to scare the wits out of them - all in fun, of course. But though he is a trickster he really is a lonely Lenny Lassoo. He dreams of a friend to share his home and fun. He gets the chance to look for one when the glass on his cage is cracked and he escapes. Does he find a friend at the zoo or does he get a surprise himself?

Another great book for Under Fives (and will also be appreciated in the Junior School at Primary too).  There's rhyme, alliteration and use of onoomatopoeia to keep the children interested in the language. Along with changing font sizes and Philip Webb's playful illustrations that are bright and fill the A3 sized page.  A wonderful read-aloud for the kindergarten and Junior School.

Watch the mini movie here
This is Lucy Davey's nineth book for children.  She won the Joy Cowley Award with her book 'Out of Bed, Fred!' in 2011. 

The Treasure Thief by Beatrice Rodriguez (Gecko Press)

Rooster, Hare and Bear bid adieu to their friends Fox and Chicken and start their sea voyage back home to the farm. En route they wash up on a desert island where Rooster discovers a mysterious white orb. Oblivious to his companions, Rooster is possessed by the orb. His faithful friends follow him home, surviving toxic toadstools, piranhas and tiny bats. What is the powerful orb and what will they discover when it cracks open?

This is the second picture book from Beatrice Rodriguez following after The Chicken Thief. Again there are no words but the illustrations tell plenty of what is happening. Children at Kindergarten and Junior School will enjoy making up their own words; and putting their own spin on the story.

Giraffe Attack by Chris Gurney, illustrated by Aki Fukuoka (Scholastic)

"Goodness me!" said Mum.
Will you listen to that din?
There's a nasty old giraffe outside,
trying to get in!"

Jack overhears members of his family talking about the fierce and flustery giraffe making things go clang, or trying to get his Grandma by the ankles, and shaking the house to its knees. Poor old Jack is terrified by the time he goes to bed. When something goes clump, thump, kerplunk on the roof he thinks the giraffe had come to get him. He hollers for help!

A wonderful story for children to understand that sometimes you can misunderstand what grown-ups are saying. Sometimes words that sound the same don't mean the same. And sometimes you have to rein in your imagination because it can get out-of-control.

Chris Gurney is a master of clever use of language. She uses rhyme, alliteration and lots of onomatopoeia - making it a great read aloud for kindergarten and Junior School children.  Children will delight in guessing what is really making all that noise. This is Chris Gurney's nineth book with number 10 coming out just in time for Christmas (and yes, it does have a Christmas theme).

Robby & Hoot by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Phillip Fickling (Puffin)

Come, little robots! Stop clanking and clattering!
Switch on your ears and switch off our chattering.
I have an interesting story for you
about a long friendship that's trusty and true.

The teacher robot tells them a story about Robby Robot looking for a second-hand toe. While searching in the junk yard he hears a little blue car wailing just before it is about to be crushed. In a daring move, Robby jumps into the car and drives it to safety. That's not the end of the journey, though, as swarms of security droids chase them. The two have to problem solve how to get out of the yard undetected to safety - can they do it?

Four to six year old boys are going to love this book about robots and chases. They'll enjoy the tension when it looks like the escaping pair are caught, and realise it is important not to give up hope. At the back of the book there are cut-outs for the boys to pull-out then they can enact the story with their own Robby Robot and Little Blue car figures along with the  Security Bts and shrieking Crusher.  Will keep boys amused long after the story has been read.

Joy Cowley is one of New Zealand's greatest authors. She's had over 200 children's books published and received awards from here and overseas.  Joy had a son who was a reluctant reader (she was slow to read herself when young) so she really knows how to motivate them with great story, wonderful use of language, and that little bit extra - cut-outs to encourage them to listen to stories.


Hairy Nose, Itchy Butt by Elizabeth Frankel, illustrated by Garry Duncan (Exisle Publishing)

Late one afternoon, down in the ground,
Hairy-Nosed Wombat woke up with a frown.
He stretched and yawned, rubbed his eyes and scratched his ear.
Then a strange sensation came over his rear.

Hairy-Nosed Wombat goes in search of a tree first, then a salt bush, next a big log, and then an old mallee stump each time they have been cleared by loggers and bulldozers. He had run out of ideas of how to scratch his butt and was on the way to his burrow when he found that was gone too. Poor old Hairy-Nose Wombat was devastated - what will he do?

A perfect story to have in the classroom (Junior through to Intermediate) because it is a great conservation conversation starter for children.  It will help children understand the effects logging and clearing of land has on wildlife. On the back page is information about how the Southern hairy-nosed wombat is one of only three wombat species found worldwide, all of which occur in Australia. Plus information about their behaviour and how it sometimes gets them into trouble. 

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