Ages 5-7 [Key Stage 1] 2011

Measuring Angels, Lesley Ely and Polly Dunbar

Frances Lincoln Children's Books   ISBN 9781845076399   £11.99

Measuring Angels tells the story, in pictures and text, of a little girl whose broken friendship with Sophie makes school an unhappy place to be. When the teacher pairs them together to grow a sunflower from seed, the little girl is horrified and Sophie continues to be unkind. Eventually, with help from mutual friend, Gabriel, and their teacher, they learn to work together with a common purpose, first making an angel to watch over their ailing plant and then watching their plant blossom along with their new-found friendship.

Ideal for reading to Key Stage 1 children, this book is a gift to any teacher wondering how to subtly help children heal broken friendships. Every child could identify with the theme, enjoy the celebration of friendship on which the book ends and understand the symbolism of the flourishing sunflower.

Gill Robins, English 4-11 Number 39, Summer 2010 

A Stork in a Baobab Tree, Catherine House, illustrated by Polly Alakija

Frances Lincoln Children's Books  ISBN 9781847801166  £11.99

This charming book is a thoughtful take on the twelve days of Christmas.  It is set in Africa during the festive season and brings together traditions from twelve countries, all united through the celebration of Christmas.  Each ‘day’ is given a double page spread with vibrant, colourful illustrations from Polly Alakija.  The theme of the day is explained with a short paragraph relating to the customs and traditions that lend themselves to the subject.  For example, the ‘Twelve Storytellers’ page informs us about the African custom of storytelling and family duty.

A list is provided at the end of the book telling us which country relates to which day of Christmas.  I did feel that perhaps it would have been more convenient to have a reference made on the actual page.  As a reader to young children, it is more satisfying to discuss the text without having to flick back and forth to a reference page.  I also thought a map of Africa showing where each country is might have been a helpful touch.  However, this is a wonderfully refreshing book that addresses the less conventional picture of Christmas and provides a culturally informative read.

Hannah Skottowe   Online review 2012

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