Tuesday, 29 May 2012

E-mergency! by Tom Lichtenheld & Ezra Fields-Meyer

How would you manage if you couldn't use the letter E? Not very well, I'd imagine. (I've used it ten times in this post already.)

In E-mergency, the letters of the alphabet all share a house and, one morning, E falls down the stairs. ("Eeeee!") The other letters all rally round and once the "EMTs" have "rushed in with an IV, ready to perform CPR", she's rushed to the ER.

They letters get together and nominate O to replace E while she recuperates. On TV, there's a "Spocial Bullotin" to announce the news. D and C go to Washington to alert the government. The other letters go on the talk shows (including O). But for some reason, E just isn't getting better. But then they realise. One person is still using the letter E and it's the narrator of the book...

This book is such good fun to read (although also quite tricky), plus it's crammed with so many jokes, that I still haven't read them all (we particularly love the letter P in the bathroom). My boys both love it and because I'm holding some of the gags back, I know we'll continue to enjoy it for a while to come.

Thanks so much to Tina of ABRAMS & Chronicle Books for sending it.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Great Explorer by Chris Judge

Another wonderful library find, I picked this one up because of the bright and happy cover and then took it home because I liked the theme of exploring.

Tom finds out that his 'Famous Explorer' father is lost in the North Pole and sets off to rescue him. The journey does not go well. His ship runs aground on an iceberg. His hot air balloon pops. He's attacked by a bear. But every time something goes wrong, Tom comes up with a solution and carries on to find his father.

I loved how resourceful Tom was and how even when things went horribly wrong, Tom kept his purpose and even enjoyed the adventure. This is reinforced by the glorious illustrations, which are, yes, simple and retro (just the way I like 'em).

The book brings up lots of discussion points too - about exploring and transport and wildlife in other parts of the world. We all really loved it. It ends with Tom and his father pondering their next adventure. I can't wait.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

It seems redundant writing about an Oliver Jeffers book because everyone knows how awesome they are, surely. In fact, after I mentioned on Twitter that I'd picked up Stuck at the library, I got lots of tweets telling me how fabulous it is. They were right too.

It all begins when Floyd gets his kite stuck up a tree. To knock it down, he throws up his "favourite shoe". When this doesn't work - the shoe also gets stuck in the tree - he tries his other shoe... which also gets stuck. He then tries pretty much everything he can get his hands on - from a pot of paint to a big boat (really) - and it all gets stuck.

There are a couple of bits that made me laugh out loud and a brilliant entertaing-for-the-adults ending that's also great for asking children what they would do in the same situation.

After I read it to Joe for the first time, he asked for 'a song about the Stuck book' at bedtime. And I had to make one up. I don't think you get much higher praise than that. (Joe requesting a song, not me singing - that was probably more of an inadvertent insult.)

See also: The Incredible Book-Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Jump on Board the Animal Train by Naomi Kefford & Lynne Moore

Joe picked this one up in the library because of the gorgeous bright cover.

Inside is just as bright and gorgeous as a little boy walks along with his mummy and realises something is following him. On the left page you see a bear's hand poking out of a hedge and the right page is split so that when you turn it, there's the boy's mummy walking on oblivious while the split page has revealed the bear... who follows the boy and his mum.

As they walk on, more and more animals join in and Joe loved spotting them and the fact that the mum doesn't know they're there.

It's a lovely book to read aloud too - its repetitive rhymes reminded me of Hairy Maclary:

The elephant's feet plod down the street, 
The tiger's tail swishes the rail, 
The bear's paws pad on the floor. 

Thursday, 3 May 2012

There Are No Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwarz

We all absolutely loved There Are Cats in This Book, so I was excited to spot the follow-up There Are No Cats in This Book in our local library. (We actually got the first book from there too and Harry asked if we could just never take it back.)

I think I may like this book even more than the first. In this one, the very cute cats have decided they'd like to get out of the book and see the world. They try pushing their way out and then jumping out (which leads to a surprise pop-up page), but when that doesn't work, they wish their way out. We know that this works because the next two pages are blank apart from a postcard. From the cats. When they come back, they bring lots of friends, who are all very happy to be in a book.

When I got to the page with the postcard I experienced a moment of cheer - I was thrilled that they'd got out of the book. And I'm 40 years old. I can't wait to see how my children react to it. It really is a lovely, inventive, sweet and funny book. Just like the first one. I highly recommend them both.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Plum and Rabbit and Me by Emma Chichester Clark

I picked this book up in the library, just because the cover is so cute. Once I'd had a quick look through it, I knew I had to get it.

Plum is Humber's little sister and, like Chloe in Chloe, Instead, she's a bit of a pest. But when Granny gives Chloe a toy rabbit and Humber a book, he's jealous. And when Plum won't let him play with it, no matter what he offers to trade, Humber hits her.

It was at this point in the book that my boys went still and silent. I can't think of another book we've read where a child has hit another child and they were clearly intrigued.

Humber and Plum's mum reacts in almost exactly the same way I would. She doesn't shout and she certainly doesn't hit Humber, she sends him to his room and very calmly discusses why what he's done is wrong. Of course Humber apologises and the book ends with Mum cuddling Hum and saying "Well done."

I really loved this book. I loved the storyline and the illustrations are beautiful. It was lovely to see a relatively serious subject dealt with in such a simple and gentle way. This is the third Humber and Plum book and I'll definitely have to check out the other two.