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?
The Wonky Donkey has been a firm favourite in New Zealand since it was first published there back in 2009, but to the rest of the world it was relatively unknown until a hilarious video appeared in late August 2018, which quickly went viral.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 9 months then you will know the one I mean! It features a lovely Scottish lady reading the book to her grandson for the first time and giggling wildly as the story gets increasingly silly. You can watch the video again here if you need a bit of a pick me up!
The story is about a 3-legged donkey which the reader sees as they are walking down the road. Each time you turn the page you learn a new fact about the donkey, which slowly turns the rhyme in to a massive tongue twister.
This book is a little controversial in our house as it’s the first Julia Donaldson book that Ivy and I don’t agree on! I personally don’t think it’s one of her best – but Ivy loves it so what do I know!?!
The story is about the ‘Go-Away Bird’ who (as you’d expect from her name…) isn’t a big fan of company. She sits in her nest with a disgruntled look on her face and sends away all of the nice birds who try and make her acquaintance with a loud ‘Go Away!’
She doesn’t want to talk to the Chit-Chat bird, she doesn’t want to share a meal with the Peck-Peck bird and she certainly doesn’t want to fly with the Flip-Flap bird. But then the hungry ‘Get You’bird appears and the Go-Away bird discovers that maybe she does need friends after all.
The majority of the books on our shelves feature cartoon creatures, loud colours and bouncy rhymes – because let’s face it, all kids love a fun story! However at 3.5, Ivy seems to have reached a stage where she’s showing interest in books which require a little more thought (but still have lots of pictures).
This book is perfect for her as it works on two levels. The story itself is simple, but it encourages lots of questions about habitats and environmental issues.
The story follows two little tiger cubs and their mother as they move through the jungle trying to find a new home. Frightened by the sound of men and dogs the previous evening, mother tiger is determined to find somewhere safe before sundown.
The little girl in this story really, really likes cats. She has lots of books about them but what she wants is a little fluffy cat of her very own – so she decides to lay a trail!
She gathers together an arsenal of cat toys, including balls of wool, skeins of ribbon and little jingly jangly balls. Then she visits her Grandmother and learns that they also enjoy playing with catnip, cardboard boxes and newspapers.
Soon her bedroom is full of exciting things designed to entice cats and she sits and waits for them to arrive. She waits all day but she has no luck so she heads to bed and sadly snuggles her cat book instead.
Daddy Fartypants has a problem – he farts ALL THE TIME! And what’s worse is that he never owns up. Every time he does a bottom burp he blames someone else, whether that’s a tiny baby, a snail or a bear on the telly. It’s all a bit too much for his poor son who is embarrassed by both the smell and the white lies.
But then one day Daddy Fartypants gets a taste of his own medicine when his son’s new teacher, Miss Lovelybear lets out a massive paaaaaaarp and blames it on him! Daddy Fartypants is mortified, but is it enough to make him to change his ways?
The Mix Up Muddle Bird is a solitary creature who lives in a nest at the top of a very tall tree. She doesn’t come down because she is scared that the other animals will make fun of her unusual appearance. You see, the Mix Up Muddle Bird is a mix of lots of different jungle animals. She has the head of a crocodile, the body of a tiger, feet like a monkey and the long colourful wings of a parrot! Her only friend is Boris the Bee who lives in a nearby tree.
One day Boris overhears the jungle animals having a disagreement over who should be the ruler of the jungle. The crocodile thinks he should be king because of his snappy teeth. The tiger thinks he should be the boss because of his fantastic pounce. The monkey thinks his climbing ability should make him the ruler. And then the parrot swoops down and says she should get the job because of her beautiful wings. The problem is that no one can agree!
Small children seem to live at 100 miles an hour. These days Ivy talks non-stop and is always on the move. She bounces from game to game, dances, spins and generally makes me feel exhausted just looking at her! This is one of the many reasons that I love to sit and read books with her. For those precious moments, the world stops and it’s just me, her and the story.
If you’re looking for more of those calm moments then this book is a lovely place to start. Mindful Millie is an elephant who is very in touch with the world around her. When she goes for a walk she notices the colour and texture of the leaves on the trees. When she eats she thinks about each of the flavours she can taste. Millie wants to help her friends (and you) to do the same.
Most parents will be familiar with the sense of trepidation you feel when starting a busy day with a small child in tow. You know it’s *possible* that everything could go to plan, but realistically you’re going to be late for everything (if you even manage to get out of the door at all).
Such is the plight of Mama Bear who has a very long list of things she needs to achieve before the end of the day, starting with dance class and a trip to the supermarket.
Little Bella Bear has other ideas though. She wants to bounce on her bed. She wants to wear the red outfit and not the blue outfit. She wants to count the stairs slowly on her way down. She wants an elaborate breakfast (which she inevitably wouldn’t eat!). She doesn’t want to brush her teeth. She might want to use the potty though – but not until it’s time to leave, and not without reading at least 3 books whilst she ‘tries’. Sound familiar?
It’s ‘Show and Tell’ time at school and little Noah is very excited. He’s brought in his new pet to show the class and he can’t wait to see their reaction. When his turn arrives all of the children shriek as Noah’s pet turns out to be a shark called Mark! Mark the shark is very friendly but he’s certainly not welcome in the classroom!
Noah soon discovers that having a pet shark is actually quite troublesome. It causes problems on the bus, in the garden, in the park and especially at the local swimming pool!