Up to age 5 [Reception/Foundation] Archive



Mrs Muffly's Monster, Sarah Day 

Frances Lincoln Children's Books   ISBN 9781845077617   £11.99

The eccentric Mrs Muffly lives alone. One day, when she starts to act strangely, the writer assumes that she is hiding a monster in her house. This is the only possible explanation for her bizarre purchases of large amounts of sugar, butter, eggs, flour and jam. At the very end of the book, the reader discovers the monster – and it’s not the blue, rather elegant one that the writer has been imagining.

The collage-style and pencil crayon graphics are intriguing, with trees made from textiles and mountains made from map drawings. It is a really imaginative book which can be read alone by Key Stage 1 children. It would also make a perfect bed time book to read to a younger child or any child who loves to use their imagination to find creative answers to intriguing questions.

Gill Robins, 2011

Rita and Whatsit Go on a Picnic / Rita and Whatsit's New Friend, Jean-Phillipe Arrou-Vignod and Olivier Tallec

Zero to Ten   ISBN 9781840895261 / 9781840895274   £4.99 each

These two books are part of a delightful series about Rita, a little girl with a big heart, and Whatsit, her dog and favourite playmate. Each book is a separate adventure in which Rita's determined, bossy personality contrasts with her long-suffering, faithful pet. When Whatsit gets left behind after a lively picnic, Rita's love for him ensures that she returns to search until she finds him, only to get cross when she discovers he has sheltered fromt he rainstorm which has soaked her. And when Rita invites Alfie to tea, the reader sees the full force of Rita's determination when she tries to interest Alfie in 'girls' games only to find that he prefers Whatsit's games to hers. Peace is restored when Alfie goes home and Rita decides that Whatsis is by far the best playmate.

The beautiful simplicity of the line drawings, with occasional splashes of red, contrasts with the complexity of Rita's personality. These books are ideal for an Early Years classroom or for reading with every young child who could readily identify with Rita's sulks and smiles.

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

The Perfect Prince, Paul Harrison and Sue Mason

Zero to Ten   ISBN 9781840895378   £10.99

From its predictable fairy-tale opening, of Isabella's hunt for a Perfect Prince in order to fulfil parental marriage expectations, this story takes an unprecedented twist. Frustrated by a crowd of undesirable suitors, a sulky Isabella goes for a walk, meeting and kissing a frog in the hope that the fairy story turns out to be true. Slowly but surely, the reader witnesses her turning into a frog, being evicted from the Palace by parent who fail to recognise their daughter and falling in love with the frog that she kissed. She lives happily ever after with their three thousand children.

This bold, colourful book is designed with cartoon characters drawn onto collage-type backgrounds, which provides a rich variety of patterns and textures. There is plenty of detail to discuss, including sentient sheep and incongruous toy Triang bike lying abandoned in the castle moat. It would be suitable from aged 3 and throughout KS1, when children would appreciate the humour of the inter-textual reference and a post-modern Princess who defies the fairy-tale convention and determines her own future with such glee.

Gill Robins, English 4-11 Number 38, Summer 2010

Time to Say I Love You, Jane Kemp and Clare Walters

Frances Lincoln Children's books    IABN 9781845076184   £6.99

Jane Kemp and Clare Walker are an experienced writing team, who have both published for the parenting market and written for children's TV, including for the series Balamory. This book celebrates a mother-daughter relationship which, being nameless, could represent any mother and daughter as they enjoy a day out. Each opening pursues the same question in a different way - when is a good time to say 'I love you'? Eventually, they decide that any time is a good time. The simple text is ideal for early readers to join in with. The illustrations, which appear to emulate pencil crayon drawings, are full of details that make each opening worth lingering over.

The warmth of this book makes it perfect for mothers and little daughters to cuddle up and read together. It would also be suitable for a nursery or Early Years reading corner.

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


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