On a recent trip to the library, Ashleigh chose the books she wanted to take home and we headed to the desk. I’d slipped in an extra book, and she noticed.
Ashleigh: What’s this book, mum?
Me: Just an extra one to borrow, Ashleigh.
Ashleigh: We’ve borrowed that book before, mum. You must really like it.
And I do. I like books generally. So I’m going to start reviewing them from time to time on the blog.
Starting with these four children’s titles, currently in the Hawker household on loan from the library.
Spork / Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault
Spork is one-of-a-kind. Neither spoon nor fork – in fact, a child of each – he’s a little bit round and a little bit pointy.
He feels out of place in the cutlery drawer, and dreams of making it to the table one day.
This is a cute book, and the illustrations are fantastic. It’s the cutlery take on the classic childhood tale of finding your place in the world when you just don’t quite fit in.
But it’s been written in Canada, and I can’t help thinking that in Australia, home of the splayd, the point isn’t as strong as it could be. I just ate my dinner with a utensil that looks a lot like Spork!
Socks / Nick Sharratt and Elizabeth Lindsay
Ashleigh and I both love Socks. Sockywockydoodah, how many words can you fit sock into?
In this book, you’ll find a sockerel (sock-a-doodle-doo!), a socktopus, a sockodile, a hipposockamus, a socksophone and Goldisocks, just to name a few.
And it’s always socks o’clock! Even at bedtime, when it’s time to put your bedsocks on.
(Just don’t let the team behind The Block get hold of this book, or the puns will get even worse next season.)
That’s the Sound the Street Makes / Danny Katz and Mitch Vane
Oh, how I want to love this book. I really do. Danny Katz is high on my list of funny folk, and the message – road safety and road awareness – is so important.
Ella and her father are walking to school. You follow their entire journey, from front door to school, with an accompanying noise every step of the way.
I do like elements of That’s the Sound the Street Makes. I like that the message is being delivered by schoolgirl Ella, instead of by one or more adults. I like how the noises structure the narrative. The screeeeeeeech of scooter brakes. The vrrrrrm brrrrm hrommmm of passing vehicles. The bip bip and plock plock of the button at the pedestrian crossing.
But if you think Peppa Pig is bossy, wait until you get a load of Ella. She’s bossy and rude to her dad every step of the way as she instructs him on road safety. While I don’t think all children’s book characters have to be constantly polite and lovely – far from it! – I found myself editing the words as I read the book aloud to Ashleigh. And something’s gone wrong when you have to do that with a book about road safety.
It’s a Book / Lane Smith
I’m saving the best for last. This is the book I sneaked into Ashleigh’s selections for the
second third fourth time. At least.
Beautifully illustrated and beautifully told, It’s a Book introduces the concept of the book to the tech generation. You don’t need a username or password. It doesn’t text or tweet. You can’t make the characters fight. So why on earth would you want a book?
Too many reasons. I don’t know where to start. But I know that I really want this one.
What children’s book(s) have you discovered lately? Any recommendations for review next time?