Being a King can be a lonely job, especially if you live in a castle on a plain surrounded by mountains. The monarch in this story dreams of moving to a beautiful island, but the mountains around him are so high that he can’t even tell which way the sea is!
His Adviser is too busy to help him so instead he asks the people of his kingdom to build a tower that is tall enough to see the ocean. The farmers build a tower of bricks, the soldiers build a tower of steel, the cheese makers build a tower of cheese and the ice-cream sellers make a tower which looks like a giant cone. Even the shoemakers get involved, building a giant boot that reaches up to the sky!
GoGo RoRo is very excited about her upcoming birthday so when she overhears Abuela* Rosa and her brother Jean Bean discussing gifts, she presumes they are talking about her presents. Overwhelmed by curiosity, she asks for some clues but Abuela Rosa cryptically tells her that she will have to find her gifts herself.
GoGo RoRo and Jean Bean search everywhere for the birthday presents but they are nowhere to be found. Where on earth could their grandmother have hidden them?
When Abuela Rosa sees the mess they have made she is very disappointed and GoGo RoRo hangs her head in shame. She was just so excited about finding her gifts. But what if her gifts aren’t material goods at all? What if her grandmother simply wants her to find the gifts she was born with?
When Agu spots a little girl called Sam playing in a tree he sees an opportunity to make a friend. He is new to the country but so far all of his attempts at friendship have failed. Poor Agu is heartbroken when Sam says she doesn’t want to play because she doesn’t know him. Why is making friends so hard?
He watches as Sam pretends to be a pirate amongst the gnarled bows of the old tree. She sings of her adventures but when she mentions stealing diamonds from Nigeria Agu steps in. He tells her there are no diamonds there, and he knows because this is where he comes from. Intrigued, Sam asks him what else he knows and just like that the door of friendship starts to open. Agu tells her all about his former home and slowly they start to play. Soon they are sailing together on the breeze, fighting pirates and searching for seashells.
When Mouse, Rabbit and Shelly the Tortoise spot the sun going down they realise they need to get home quickly before it gets dark. Mouse suggests taking a shortcut through the creepy crooked creek but Rabbit isn’t sure. What if the tales of hungry crocodiles are true? Mouse is adamant that he has never seen a crocodile there so they all set off together.
It soon transpires that Shelly doesn’t even know what a crocodile is, so Mouse decides to educate him along the way. To reassure his friends, he repeats many times that he has definitely never ever seen a crocodile in the creepy crooked creek – but Rabbit and Shelly start to spot evidence to the contrary.
Here, the brilliant illustrations come in to their own as they start to diverge from the story which Mouse is telling. Just like Rabbit and Shelly, we can see that there are in fact crocodiles EVERYWHERE! The bridge they walk over is a crocodile’s back, the scratchy thorns are pointy claws and the vines they swing on are crocodiles tails – but Mouse just doesn’t seem to see it!
When little Lils loses her favourite Teddy Bear she is inconsolable. What will she do without him? Fortunately her mum spots a local policeman, Officer George, and asks for his help. Lils is a little bit scared of the big policeman in his shiny uniform but Officer George springs in to action and immediately heads off in search of the lost toy. Will he be able to locate Lils’ friend and bring him back home?
Written by a serving police officer, this lovely book helps children understand that police officers are there to help the public. It’s an unfortunate fact that some parents still use the “You’d better behave yourself or that policeman will take you away” line with their kids. This can cause a negative association in children’s minds and potentially cause problems if they are in a situation where they need help. This story reinforces the fact that police officers are friendly, approachable and not to be feared. It even suggests that children give them a smile and a wave next time they see them to see how they react!
I am quite excited that we seem to have reached a point with Ivy where she’s ready for slightly longer books. We’re definitely nowhere near chapter book territory yet, but she is starting to show an interest in stories with more complicated plots than standard picture books. However, if i’m honest, I’ve struggled to find books which bridge this gap.
We have recently been reading this series of tales about a worm-like creature called Reggie Wriggle and I’ve found them really useful for this stage of reading. They are quite wordy (in a good way!) but also toddler-friendly as you can colour them in.
In this first Reggie Wriggle adventure, Reggie finds himself a little under the weather. He wakes up one morning and can’t stretch his tail and then he starts to develop some uncomfortable lumps and bumps. His best friend Bert soon arrives with a diagnosis. Reggie isn’t getting enough vitamins so he needs to eat more fruit! Together they set off in search of an apple tree, but before long they find themselves slap bang in the middle of an adventure. Can they rescue local farmer Mr Glossop from sinking in to a giant muddy puddle, and will poor Reggie ever get his fruit?
This evening we are extremely excited to be sharing our thoughts on a brand new book from Lantana Publishing as part of the official #oldmanofthesea bookstagram tour.
This beautifully illustrated story looks at the quiet relationship between a boy and his ailing grandfather. Every Sunday they sit together and talk or share a comfortable silence, until one day the Grandfather decides the time has come to share tales of his life with the boy. And what a life!
Grandpa was a sailor who circumnavigated the world and fell in love with each continent he discovered. He picnicked in olive groves with Europe, climbed sand dunes with Africa, explored temples with Asia and went diving with Oceania. The love he felt for these lands was strong, but not as strong as the lure of the sea. Eventually he always found himself back in his boat in search of a new adventure.
Aqua is a dog who works hard on an Australian farm, herding sheep and helping the farmer. However whenever he gets the chance, he runs off to the water hole for a quick paddle. He likes nothing better than to swim, splash and dive beneath the surface – but the farmer just doesn’t understand. Aqua often gets in to trouble for indulging his passion for swimming!
One day, the farm is hit by a terrible storm and the rain soon causes a flood. The farmer doesn’t know what to do but Aqua Dog springs in to action. He dives through the water, and like a hero, he rescues every sheep. Once his rescue mission is complete he looks around for the farmer but he’s nowhere to be found. Aqua soon realises he must be underwater and he can’t swim! Can he rescue him before it’s too late?
When three little girls find a tattered hot air balloon hidden away in an old shed they realise they have found something special. The balloon used to belong to their grandmother, and they have heard many stories about the adventures she had in it as a girl.
With a flicker of excitement they realise that, if they can fix the balloon, they could have some adventures of their very own! Working together, they mend the holes in the fabric and soon find themselves soaring through the sky.
However it’s not long before they discover that flying a hot air balloon isn’t quite as easy as it looks, and after a minor collision with a tree they start to doubt their own abilities. Will they manage to fly the balloon safely to Grandma’s house, and what on earth might she say when they arrive?
I had the pleasure of meeting Fifi Kuo at a recent event – the 2019 shortlist announcement for the prestigious Klaus Flugge Prize. Her beautiful book made it on to the list and, despite being very much in demand, she took the time to chat and also to compose a little drawing for Ivy on the inside cover of our copy!
The touching story is about a Little Penguin who really wants to fly. He flips and flaps his tiny wings but nothing ever happens. His dad explains to him that it’s just not possible – penguins simply cannot fly – but Little Penguin is convinced that if he just tries hard enough he can make it happen.
An over-enthusiastic leap in to the air results in him tumbling in to the sea. Is it possible that there, under the murky depths, he might finally take flight?