Bernie And Flora by Annemie Berebrouckx, Book Island LtdBook Island Ltd are launching their first three titles, including this one, on Sunday 11th November at the Raumati South Memorial Hall, Kapiti Coast. Visit their website at www.bookisland.co.nz for more details. Bernie and Flora is the first book in a series called The Adventures of Bernie and Flora, focusing on love and friendship. First published in 2011 in Belgium, and translated by Laura Watkinson, it is a gentle story about “saying it with flowers.” Flora the duck visits her friend Bernie the bear and is shocked to see that all the flowers have gone from his garden. She checks out the neighbours, to no avail. But when she sadly returns home – you guessed it – Bernie is waiting there in a room full of flowers. It’s smart-looking paperback production, with cover folds and illustrated end papers, and the illustrations are fresh and appealing. I enjoyed the strong images with their bright colours and lots of white space. There’s a free colouring-in sheet included, and an interesting page at the end provides information about the language of flowers (daffodils ask, “Please love me too”). The publishers say it’s suitable for 3+, and given the subject matter I imagine it will probably be more popular with girls than with boys.
ISBN 978 0 9876696 1 2 RRP 19.99 PbIllustrated Story Book
Sir Mouse to the Rescue by Dirk Nielandt and Marjolein Pottie, Book Island LtdThis is another one of the titles being launched by Book Island Limited on Sunday 11th November. It was also originally published in Belgium and translated by Laura Watkinson. It’s an interesting choice for a new publisher, being aimed at newly-emergent readers – who are often still focused on educational series. It’s a good-looking book, hardback, with quality paper and illustrated end pages. It offers six short interconnected stories about a female mouse who is a knight (Sir Mouse), and a female dragon called Dragon. This unlikely pair are friends – Sir Mouse is the stroppy one and Dragon tends to be more conciliatory. The stories contain more conversation than action, though there’s lots of talk of chopping up and blood – and general waving of swords in the air. The illustrations are intriguing, created using collage and paper-cutting techniques. They look simple, but they reward close study, particularly the monotone paper-cut silhouettes. Overall I’d say the book is definitely quirky, noticeably different to the usual style of early readers, and probably better enjoyed by girls than boys (because the two main characters are female). The recommended age level is 6+.
ISBN 978 0 9876696 2 9 RRP 24.99 Hb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman