Tag Archives: illustrations

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

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Apologies for the blurred image Boo was trying to run off with the book see her hand

Somehow this book passed me by the first time I became a parent. I truly don’t know how as it’s a beautiful book.

It was written in 2008 published by Walker Books Ltd the edition we have was published in 2011.

Rosie Rabbit getting ready for bedtime reading

Rosie Rabbit getting ready for bedtime reading

The text has a rhyming repetitive way of taking you through the story of explaining that although babies can be born in various places around the world and although they can each look slightly different they (on the most part) are all the same really as they have ten little fingers and ten little toes.

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Without a very young child knowing about differences around the world it’s a lovely way to introduce this subtly. The book however can grow with the child and could be used as a starting point of discussion suggesting where some of the babies may be from and showing them on a globe for example “there was one little baby born on the ice and another in a tent who was just as nice”.

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Each double spread page has illustrations of two different babies born in different cultures and then the rhyme continues over the page with illustrations of all the babies shown already up to that point with the repetitive rhyme “and both of these babies as everyone knows has ten little fingers and ten little toes”

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Boo who is 20 months loves this book she likes the illustrations of the babies and points to each one saying “baby”. It’s been a lovely way to reinforce where her fingers and toes are as I read it to her I get her to wiggle her fingers and show me her toes.The rhyme is not too energetic so it’s perfect for bedtime.

Our favourite part though which Boo gets excited about is the last few pages and where I do actually kiss her on the nose. The rhyme changes slightly in this part and it focuses on the narrator talking about their own baby;

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“But the next baby born was truly divine, a sweet little child who was mine, all mine. And this little baby as everyone knows, has ten little fingers, ten little toes and three little kisses on the tip of its nose.”

I often change the last bit instead of “tip of its nose” I change it for her I could change it for her name instead although this would change the rhyme perhaps too much.

As I noted earlier Boo likes this book, it has helped her remember which are her fingers and which are her toes and where her nose is and has started pointing them out on her doll too. She likes the illustrations and loves the anticipation of the end and receiving kisses on her nose! I think she would give this 10/10.

I wish I had found this book earlier not just for Boo but for Monkey who was born the year it was published. The book can be used for many starting points of discussion as children grow noticing the different cultures, different landscapes, discussing where in the world they could be from. Explaining all babies are the same no matter where they’re from. It’s a lovely book and would be perfect as a baby shower gift or a gift for a newborn I would therefore give this book 10/10.

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Tap The Magic Tree by Christie Matheson


wp-1470776046903.jpgHave you ever fell in love with a children’s book as an adult the quick way a young child does? Where you have to read the story no matter who is around or what is going on. This is what happened to me, we were in a small independent bookshop and there was only myself and Boo (and the man at the till not far away). I read it out loud, smiling and doing the actions the way I knew I would at home. Have you ever read a story and at the end know that even if it wasn’t going to be your child’s favourite book….yet it was now yours! This is truly what happened when I bought this book for Boo.

Tap The Magic Tree shows a tree going through the season’s showing a child how one bare tree at the start of the book can change, have leaves, blossom, the tree has fruit, the leaves change colour, the leaves fall off and then the magic starts again. This is all lovely and simple and has been shown in many books but its the words and the actions which go through the book that even a very young child can join in. A couple of examples are shown below;

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“Brush away the petals (swish!) and blow the tree a tiny kiss.”

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“Pat the leaves be gentle please.”

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“Aha! Now blow a whooshing breeze.”

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The illustrations are beautiful, they tell the story even without the words, step by step a child on their own could easily read and understand just by looking at the illustrations alone.

The story was written and illustrated by Christie Matherson, it was first published in 2013 but first published as a board book edition in 2016 (which is the edition we have). The information in the back of the book says collages were used to prepare the artwork.

Boo really loves this book which is fantastic as I previously said I fell instantly in love with it so I don’t mind reading it several times a day! Boo at only 20 months has already started doing many of the actions which shows she’s not only looking at the pictures she is now listening to the story which I find fascinating. She claps her hands, taps on the tree, wiggles her fingers and blows like the wind. This is set to be a favourite for quite a while as I can see it easily growing with her especially since there is a lovely blossom tree you can see from her bedroom window which looks similar to the tree in the book so when she’s older we can look at the book and decide which picture it looks like in the book. I think Boo would easily give this 10/10 it’s one of only a handful that she brings to me daily and has to have it read all the way through sometimes more than once or sometimes I read it to her and then she sits on my knee turning each page and pointing to the changing pictures.

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I give this book 10/10 as I’m sure you can gather by now I adore this book I don’t often use words like that to explain my love for a book but this really is a delight, it has reignited my love of good young children’s books and as Boo likes the actions so much I am now looking for other beautiful books with actions (any suggestions would be greatly welcomed), I am already hunting out another book by Christie Matherson called Touch the Brightest Star.

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Mr Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter

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I think this may be one of a few Beatrix Potter stories which is less known.

The story is about Mr Jeremy Fisher who is a frog who wants to catch some minnows for supper as he’s having friends round. However instead of catching minnows he has a narrow escape from a trout!

The edition we have is dated 2007 published by the Penguin Group and is a board book which is a lovely shape easy for young children to hold and yet it still retains the original illustrations which Beatrix drew.

The original story was first published by Fredwick Warne & Co in July 1906. The origin of the story as with most of her stories was written in a letter she wrote to a child in 1893. She revised it in 1906, and moved its setting from the River Tay to the Lake District.

I bought this book in the Lake District on a day trip with Boo when she was about 9 months old. She’s loved the pictures since I bought it and will happily sit smiling turning the pages back and forth looking at the illustrations with their great detail. Boo now aged 19 months has started to listen to me as I read the story.

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Although she finds it fascinating looking at the illustrations she is more drawn to the Jemima Puddle Duck story which is in the same style of book. Therefore I would suggest she gives this book 9/10. I too would give this 9/10 it’s not my favourite story but I can’t help but love the illustrations.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s abc by Eric Carle

An abc book which adults will enjoy to look at too

An abc book which adults will enjoy to look at too

Very few people will not know who the character of Eric Carle’s famous book The Very Hungry Caterpillar is which is a childhood favourite of mine. This book explores the abc with help of the hungry caterpillar and lots of animal friends who I believe can be found in several other Eric Carle books.

The book was first published in 2015 by Puffin Books.

The very first page and last page has the letters of the alphabet set out in the same colours and style as you find throughout the book i.e. the letter ‘a’ is red with what looks like finger painted dots.

Each letter of the alphabet has a separate page on white background making a very good visual impact to all who read the book. Under each letter which are all lowercase letters there is a picture of an animal which starts with that particular letter which is then followed by the word of what the picture is, the first letter written the same colourful way as what the letter is first depicted as.

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The alphabet doesn’t just concentrate on the animals most alphabet books have which as an adult certainly makes it more interesting. Below is the list of animals alphabetically used.

Ants

Bird

Caterpillar

Dog

Eagle

Frog

Gull

Horse

Iguana

Lizard

Mouse

Narwhal

Owl

Penguin

Quetzal

Rhino

Snail

Tiger

Unicom

Vulture

Walrus

Xolo

Yak

Zebra

There are a few in the list I’ve not heard of before which makes it interesting to both the adult reader but also perhaps to an older sibling reading the book to their younger brother/sister.

I've never heard of a narwhal have you?

I’ve never heard of a narwhal have you?

Boo is too young to fully appreciate this book yet and yet she recognises the picture of the Dog and bird the rest of the time she points at pages randomly and I tell her the letter, point to the picture and tell her what he picture is of which she enjoys doing a lot at the moment.

Since Boo is too young to review the book properly I have to go on what she thinks of this book compared to others and I have to say this is slowly becoming a favourite of hers, in fact at the weekend I put it in our bag to take out for the day and she happily looked through this book while I read my son’s comic to him. To make it even better my son when he became bored of the comic looked through this book with Boo it was such a lovely sight to see Monkey age 7 explaining to his baby sister Boo age 19 months what all the letters were and pointing out all the beautiful bright colours, I’m sure sure this will only get better as Boo grows so I think she would give this 9/10 at the moment.

I love this book, so many abc books concentrate on the boring and same suggestions such as b for butterfly and s for snake with usually boring illustrations but each illustration is a true piece of art which I would happily display and not necessarily only in a children’s playroom. On the back of the book there’s a website address for information on Eric Carle’s books, information about him, resources, ideas, lots of interesting information on how the illustrations are made – it’s certainly worth a look I was impressed with the amount of information available there. There is also a link to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art which I would love to visit one day. The website is:
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I will give this book 10/10 as it will certainly grow with children and can be used for lots of things not just simply learning letters. It could be used to start a conversation, research on the various animals depicted especially the lesser known. The colours of the illustrations can be used for colour recognition. Some children might want to make a story up about the animals to help remember the alphabet. It can also be used as a way to learn how to do collages which is how Eric Carle creates these illustrations. This is just a few ideas I’m sure there are many more, have fun read learn and create.

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Children’s Book Review: A Dog Day by Emily Rand

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This is the first children’s book the author Emily Rand has written published in 2014 by Tate Publishing.

The story is about a Terrier dog being taken on a walk and is written in the perspective of the dog. The dog thinks he’s  going to be taken straight to the park but his owner has a few other stops to make first. You can feel the excitement of the dog at the start of the story but you also feel his disappointment when he’s not taken directly to the park.

Unlike most children’s books the illustrations (also by Emily Rand) are all black and white and yet there is a depth to them with the details for instance the bricks in the wall are not just black they have some variation in the colour and pattern and the dog isn’t simply plain, you can see his curly fur.

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My son, Monkey wasn’t too sure of the book at first because of the lack of colour however once I’d read the the story which has a lovely rhythm and rhyme he actually really liked it. His favourite part was when the dog got to the park as he liked the illustrations of the other dogs.

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Monkey gave this book 7/10 as he prefers colour pictures but he enjoyed the story.

I give this book 8/10 I loved the way the story was from the dogs perspective taking you on a lovely journey.  It made me wonder if perhaps it’s how young children feel too when you don’t take them directly to the park so it would be a lovely story to share with perhaps a toddler to help explain that sometimes adults have to do other jobs first before going to the park.  I also liked that despite it being a children’s book the author has not used any colour.  I showed some of the illustrations to Boo (who is 10 months old) and she sat clapping with a grin on her face so clearly a winner for her.  I have put the book on my wishlist as this copy was from the library and will look out for future stories from the author.

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