Saturday, October 8, 2016

Picture books for four year olds

Jack's Castle by Brett Avison, illustrated by Scott Tulloch (Bateman)

Bateman hasn't published many children's books.  Brett Avison's prior books were published with an Australian publishing company. Obviously, the publisher couldn't resist this digger story.

Jack uses his sit-on digger to make a castle in the sand. His dog Toby digs too. Kids ask if they can join in and together they build a majestic castle with turrets, a moat, and tower with flags and flowers. But, oh no, the tide comes in and washes it away. Do they build a new one everyday or find another solution for their castle. Read it to find out how Jack problem solves this dilemma.

Scott Tulloch's illustrations are rich and expressive with full colour illustrations on every page.

My son was digger-mad - many four year old boys are too.  If you've helped your son or daughter build sand castles, you'll remember their disappointed faces when the waves washed their castles away. Parents and teachers could talk about what they could do to save their sandcastles and the bigger issue of not feeling frustrated when something happens - instead, look for ways to solve the problem. Bound to be popular with little boys and girls who love to play in the sand.

I've just discovered that Bateman also published another of Brett's stories 'A hippo lives in Havelock', which was also favourably received. Magpies review: The text rollicks along in jaunty rhyme and children well beyond Havelock will be captivated by the hippo's heroics." Magpies, Vol. 31, 2016

ISBN:  978-1-86953-943-6
RRP $24.99 Hardback

Tiny Owl on the Ramshackle Farm written and illustrated by Lotte Wotherspoon

A tiny owl snoozes in the branches of an old macrocarpa tree on a ramshackle farm. He can hear the
babble of a brook in the midnight calm, until pigs come crashing through the trees, a bull swishes his tail and snorts in his dreams, a chicken noisily lays eggs ... and other animals disturb the silent night air. Each time Tiny Owl imagines some great monster thrashing around the farm. His parents realise his fears and take him flying to show him the majesty of the farm and the sunrise. Will it help him overcome his fears ... read to find out.

The real star of this book is the black pen sketch drawings with pops of red colour. My favourite pages feature the family of owls on the farm, the crashing pigs, the night sky with twinkling stars, cat on the verandah, the pohutukawa trees, and the sunrise - they are stunning. The endpapers are rather gorgeous too. The artwork is quite different to anything else on the market.

Will be enjoyed by young children 3-7 years, and emerging young artists. It will most likely encourage some to experiment with their own black pen and red drawings. Parents and teachers can also use the book as


a springboard to talk about their own fears and how to overcome them.

This is Lotte's third book for children (that I can find). Her second book 'Pukeko dancing on the old dirt track' shortlisted for the Scholastic Best Children's Book Awards at the 2016 BPANZ Awards. She also illustrated David Hill's book 'Black Day' several years ago.

ISBN: 978-0-473-35329-2
RRP $29.95 Hardback, $19.99 Paperback

Reviewed by Maria Gill

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