Day 80 (Week 12, Day 3) - Tuesday 21st March 2017
Ooh, I had an exciting email come through today - the chance to review Julia Donaldson's latest book, courtesy of NetGalley! There's always something exciting about getting a proof copy of a book through before it's published, though this particular one was in eBook format so we couldn't take our customary picture reading it.
It was just Josh tonight as Xander was too engrossed in the games he was playing, so here's what we thought of the books we read this evening:
1) The Giant Jumperee - Julia Donaldson (Author) & Helen Oxenbury (Illustrator)
We received this eBook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
It's always great to read a picture book that has a bit of a mystery within that children can enjoy trying to solve. Our kids thoroughly enjoyed trying to guess the identity of the Giant Jumperee, and they thought it was hilarious when the mystery animal's identity was revealed. I'm sure that most adults would have been able to make a decent guess, but for smaller children this is exactly the sort of thing that can come as a huge shock to them, and make a book all the more memorable.
Though it always feels a little strange not to see Axel Scheffler illustrating a Julia Donaldson book (and there are loads of other illustrators that she's worked with so it shouldn't feel that strange, really), Helen Oxenbury's illustrations are delightful and perfectly suited to the story. She brings a fantastic feeling of warmth to accompany the text, mixing the detailed characters in the foreground with the simple but highly effective landscapes in the background.
People are always going to be excited by a new release from Julia Donaldson - having read it, I'm certain they're going to love this one!
Chris says: A lovely little mystery for children to try to solve, beautifully illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, and a great addition to Julia Donaldson's catalogue. It's always great when an author you much admire brings out a new story that you really enjoy!
Josh says: I like finding out who the Giant Jumperee is.
2) T'wit T'woo - Maddie McClellan (Author & Illustrator)
I'm fond of this book for one very important reason: it's pretty much the first book that Josh has sat down and managed to read through all by himself that isn't one provided by his school. It's a huge step in learning to read, and so I'm very grateful that we came across this! It's a bright and colourful story about a group of owls causing a bit of mayhem and having fun, and Josh relished the chance to be the one that told us what was going on.
He enjoyed reading it so much that he happily read it again, and then again when Xander requested a third read-through. It's fun watching the owls getting up to mischief, but even more fun to see the look of happiness on your son's face as he gets to be the one to read it!
Clearly, therefore, a good recommendation for anyone who wants a warm and amusing picture book for beginner readers to get their teeth into!
Chris says: It's such a very proud moment as a parent when you see your child reading a book that they've picked up all by themselves for the first time. Yes, Josh has been reading well with his school books for a long time, but they're specially designed to be at his reading level, whereas this was just a book he picked up a wanted to have a go at reading. Wonderful to see!
Josh says: I like that I can read this all by myself.
3) Greenling - Levi Pinfold (Author & Illustrator)
We love learning about nature together as a family, and Greenling is a great story to show just how powerful nature is, and how the process of sowing and harvesting crops plays a vital role in how a community comes together. Initially, when Mr Barleycorn brings home a strange green baby that he finds on his land, his wife isn't keen and wants it taking away, but as the greenling's powers are revealed and the townsfolk also become hostile towards it. so Mrs Barleycorn becomes protective and insists that it be allowed to stay.
It's a lovely fable about how nature can disrupt our lives, but also be there to support our lives if we allow it, and as you'd expect from a Kate Greenaway Medal winner, it's beautifully illustrated too (though I must admit to being slightly scared of the greenling's face on the front cover!).
A lovely opportunity to talk to your children about the ways nature looks after us, as why we should try to take care of it, too.
Chris says: Levi Pinfold really is a stunning illustrator, and the imagery in this is so very memorable. It's very lifelike, and really helps to hammer home the message of nature's power.
Josh says: I like the drawings of the people.
So, to summarise Day 80...
Three totally different stories tonight, as we had a mystery, a comedy, and a fable. All very enjoyable, all very imaginative, and all very worthy additions to our Picture Book Challenge total!