Saturday 14 March 2020

                                                        {Reviews by STELLA}
The very first books that entice young readers are bright, bold and robust — board books. We all have our favourites and some of the classics endure. The Ahlbergs' Peepo and Mem Fox's and Helen Oxenbury's Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes come to mind. Here are a few new ones.
From the wonderful Gecko Press, The Wolf and the Fly by Antje Damm. The wolf is hungry. On each page, he chooses something to eat. Here is the wolf on one side of the page eyeing up the shelf on the facing page. There’s a duck, an apple, a fish, a cactus, a car, a fly, a bird and a cat. What will he choose? Turn the page and there is a gap for what has been devoured. Can you see which creature has been a snack? The wolf is licking his lips and he’s still hungry. He chooses again. Turn the page. Maybe the sleepy cat should have been paying more attention! The story carries on until the food shelves are depleted. Guess what is left at the end. The wolf has a rather odd expression on his face. This is a highly enjoyable and very playful book that will keep a child guessing and looking, with plenty of observations to be made and enough language for a tot who is keen on something a little bit humorous.
If you and your child like wordplay, Rhyme Cordial by Antonia Pesenti is superb. With its bold images and interactive pages, it is sure to please. Open the page to see the words ‘Fresh orange juice’ and a picture of a very fresh glass of juice complete with stripy straw and orange slice. Fold out the image page to reveal a goose in the glass ready to eat up that orange slice. Now the words are ‘Fresh orange goose’. This is definitely a read-aloud. And as you read on, the words and images together create a witty and absurd dialogue that is sure to delight your word hungry youngster.
If you want to introduce the world of art to a small mind, Art This Way by Tamara Shopsin and Jason Fulford is a great first book of contemporary artists. Produced in conjunction with the Whitney Museum of American Art, it features works by several famous names, including Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman and Christo. This caught my eye because it is published by Phaidon (they produce excellent art books), and one of the contributors is Tamara Shopsin, author of Arbitrary Stupid Goal (which is an excellent family memoir and a portrait of a New York community). There are great examples of artworks (sculpture, painting and photography) that will appeal to children. It features interactive elements, lift-the-flap, look-through shapes and fold-out pages; and clear instructive language — look, look under, look in, and look again. 

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