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Picture Book Perfection – October Part One

Oh Monty! Cats…Cakes…Crumbs!

  • Written by Susannah Lloyd
  • Illustrated by Nici Gregory
  • Published by Pavilion

After enjoying this storybook it was instantly obvious to me that younger readers will utterly love hearing it, especially as the narrative style text leaves opportunity for the person reading to little ones to interact with them, asking them what they think will happen next, and that sort of thing. I absolutely love these sort of books when reading to reception classes in my library, and I am super excited to enjoy this book all over again, with the little ones interacting as we go along.

The story itself is of two much loved cats, Monty and Tiddles, and tells of how the pair are left to take care of a gorgeous home made cake their owner has created, only for the owner to return and find the cake has vanished. Tiddles knows who is responsible, but their owner doesn’t interpret her trying to convey this information, and chooses instead to make another cake. Each cake looks stunning, and really makes you wish you could grab a slice yourself, which is testament to the stunning illustrations that feature throughout this picture book. When the second cake is destroyed, the owner comes back and blames the wrong cat, and rewarding the culprit instead!

Little ones will be yelling out who it is that is responsible, in a Punch and Judy audience sort of way, and be frustrated at the injustice in the story, and likely realise that owning up and telling the truth is the best approach in situations such as those Tiddles and Monty found themselves in.

We’re Going Places

  • Written by Mick Jackson
  • Illustrated by John Broadley
  • Published by Pavilion

This is such a beautifully written book that tells of the journey a child goes on, from being in a pram or pushchair to crawling, walking and so much more besides. The adventure filled story tells of the many ways others have discovered as means to go places, and the journey they experienced as a consequence. There are references to the past such as horse and cart, as well as posing questions about what possibilities the future holds, and I like that this leaves the potential for readers to use their imaginations as they consider inventions that are yet to be built, and that they could be the ones to do so.

This would be the perfect book at bedtime, leaving so many thoughts that can turn into inspirational dreams, or as part of a transport themed topic, a class read that would pose many opportunities for discussion and debate, and of course just as an enjoyable read – independently or together.

There’s A Unicorn In Your Book

  • Written by Tom Fletcher
  • Illustrated by Greg Abbott
  • Published by Puffin

As soon as I saw this title was published I absolutely could not wait to get hands on a copy, especially as I have been a huge fan of the other titles in the Who’s In Your Book? series, and have enjoyed sharing other titles with reception classes across my time in my role as primary school librarian. The other titles include an Alien, Monster, Witch, Dragon, Superhero, and Elf.

What makes the books in this series so brilliant is the narrative of the text including the audience to interact at the end of a page, such as deciding if the lead character does complete the pages suggested next step, and even gives readers actions to complete in order to progress the story, which I have seen the delight on the faces of little ones as they do them.

In There’s a Unicorn in your Book audiences of all ages will enjoy trying to help the stunningly cute unicorn that features in the book, as they try to be happy again, and rid their book of worry gremlins that are stopping them from being able to enjoy themselves. Through interacting with the book, and completing the required actions, the audience members are able to add some rainbow dust to the story, magic up some fairies, and help the unicorn feel contented again.

The concluding part of the story is that of the unicorn sharing their worries with a friend, and that in turn makes the worries smaller, and in turn disappear. This leads to a beautiful conclusion, as Unicorn and all of their friends get to enjoy each others company as they party together – in a Unicorn party of all things!

This picture book series has got to be one of my all time favourites, as I love how much the audience is included in every stage of the book, and in turn feels fully immersed in the adventure within the pages. The illustrations have an iconic look that means the books are instantly recognisable as part of the series, and make the reading experience all the better for the detail they offer, and the adorable characters that feature within the books.

A Cat called Waverley

  • Written and Illustrated by Debi Gliori
  • Published by Otter-Barry Books

Based on a true story, this book is all about a cat called Waverley, who gets a close bond with a young man, and the two become inseparable. That is until the young man has to leave to fight in a war, and leaving Waverley to be looked after by others. The cat proves very resourceful as he heads to the train station to pass the time whilst waiting for his friend to return. Seasons change, and still Waverley is unwilling to become acquainted with anyone other than his absent friend, and continues to wait at the train station for any sign.

Then one day, and much to Waverley’s delight, his friend returns from fighting in the war, and the pair are reunited when Waverley hears a familiar voice in the streets of Edinburgh, as his companion is homeless and begging on the streets. It is a beautiful conclusion to the story, and heart warming to see the pair together once again, and Waverley feel as though he is once again ‘home’.

This is an absolutely beautiful story of belonging, the strength of a true friendship, the bond between a pet and its ‘owner’, and the awfulness of going off to war and returning to find you have lost everything you previously knew, except perhaps that of the true love of a feline companion, which proves priceless. The stunning illustrations really do justice to the raw emotions that would be apparent within each scene, depicting them perfectly, just like the detail relevant to each location that features too.

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