Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Three Picture Books for the Christmas Tree

Go Home Flash by Ruth Paul, Scholastic NZ

I loved Bad Dog Flash, and this sequel is just as much fun. Ruth Paul uses minimal text to convey the feelings of the little dog, cleverly including rhyme and repetition. Here’s an example: “Sniff smell, find smell, strong smell, p-o-n-g smell! Wrong smell?” The story is simple – Flash wants to go out and run and play, but every time he does someone says, “Go home, Flash!” The pencil and watercolour illustrations are light and bright with plenty of white space, and Flash is particularly appealing with his black button eyes, cheeky grin, and puppy-fuzz fur. The simplicity of the words and the uncluttered illustrations make this book suitable for both one-to-one sharing and reading aloud to a group in a pre-school centre. Recommended.

ISBN 978 1 77543 245 6 RRP $19 Pb
Kakapo Dance by Helen Taylor, Penguin NZ

Helen Taylor’s distinctive artwork is the first thing to catch the eye, with the brilliant green kakapo staring beadily from the front cover. The inside illustrations offer excellent renditions of New Zealand native birds in all their colourful splendour – bellbird, kereru, whio, pukeko, and so on. The story uses accumulated verse and onomatopoeia to compare the birds’ movements and songs with kakapo’s thudding and booming. This book has uses over and above the standard reading aloud situation, especially for parents and teachers of pre-schoolers. Children can be encouraged to join in with the chorus and make noises to match the birds’ songs; adventurous adults can encourage children to imitate the movements of the birds – hopping, gliding, waddling, etc. The book will also be useful as a school resource to support the study of New Zealand native birds.

ISBN 978 0 143 50601 0 RRP $19.99 Pb

 My Aunt Mary Went Shopping by Roger Hall, illus. Daron Parton, Scholastic NZ

This is another entertaining text using accumulated verse and rhyme to encourage preschool children to join in and have fun with words – and it’s an old favourite. It was originally published in 1991. Here’s an example of the text format: “My Aunt Mary went shopping and she bought a giraffe, a scarf for the giraffe, a goat, and a coat for the goat.”  And so on. The unlikely pairings of animals and gifts allows the illustrator to come up with some hilarious pictures. Try to imagine pigs in wigs… The style is quirky, the colours are smooth and bright, and children should enjoy the way-out cartoon animals.

ISBN 978 1 77543 215 9 RRP $19.50 Pb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman 

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