I mentioned recently that I’m a sucker for a good dog story, so when I first saw Leila Rudge’s new picture book Ted I fell in love. Ted, the little dog who is the subject of the story, graces the front cover in various poses wearing his little green jumper. I knew right away that I would love Ted and you will too.
Ted is a smart dog, with his own jumper. But he has lived at the pet store for as long as he can remember and nobody seems to notice him. Will Ted ever find the perfect place to live? Ted joins the circus, enters a pet pageant, and takes a job as a guard dog, but nobody notices him. When he least expects it, Ted gets noticed.
Ted is a superb picture book by a very talented author and illustrator. Ted is a loveable character that children certainly will notice and want to take home. The story is great to read aloud and will have children laughing and hoping for Ted to find a home. The illustrations are both cute and funny, with lots of quirky details that children will point out. I particularly like where Ted puts his collar when he’s a guard dog. The end papers even add to the story (compare the ones at the front to those at the back).
The ending of the book is absolutely hilarious and I definitely didn’t see it coming. I thought it had all gone horribly wrong for Ted, just when things were looking up. You’ll just have to read it to find out what happens.
Ted is the perfect book to snuggle up with and share before bed on a cold Winter’s night, so grab a copy from your library or bookshop now.
What do you get when you bring together the author of weird and wonderful stories, Lemony Snicket, and the award-winning illustrator Jon Klassen? You get The Dark, a whimsical tale with stunning illustrations about a boy who is afraid of the dark.
Laszlo is afraid of the dark. He lives in a big house, with a ‘creaky roof, smooth, cold windows and several flights of stairs.’ The dark also lives in this house and it hides in lots of different places. Laszlo thinks that if he visits the dark in the dark’s room, maybe it won’t come and visit Laszlo in his room. However, one night it does come and visit Laszlo and tells him that it has something to show him…down in the basement.
The Dark is a unique take on the theme of being scared of the dark and it’s a wonderful collaboration between these two very talented people. Jon Klassen’s illustrations are the perfect match for Lemony Snicket’s delightful and humourous text. I really love Jon’s illustration style as he achieves so much with very little detail. The way that he has contrasted the light and dark in this book is spectacular. The dark is a character in the story and I love the way that Jon has portrayed this, especially when the dark is hiding in the cupboard or behind the shower curtain. Some of the pages are almost completely black, apart from Laszlo and the details that we see in the beam of his flashlight. The text has a uniquely Lemony Snicket style and tone, and it certainly took me by surprise. I love the language that he uses to describe the house and the dark itself.
‘The voice of the dark was as creaky as the roof of the house, and as smooth and cold as the windows, and even though the dark was right next to Laszlo, the voice seemed very far away.’
If you know a child that is scared of the dark, The Dark, is the perfect reassuring story to read to them. It’s also the perfect book for Jon Klassen fans who will be drooling over his illustrations.
I love picture books that start with a simple idea, then build up and build up into a ridiculous situation. One of my favourite examples of this is Oliver Jeffers’ fantastic picture book, Stuck. Floyd’s kite gets stuck in the tree and more and more things get thrown up to try and knock the kite down. Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz’ new book Cheese Belongs To Me! is another book like this, that builds on one simple rat law: cheese belongs to you.
Rat law is simple: if you take a piece of cheese, it belongs to you. So if a bigger rat takes it … then cheese belongs to them. Unless … a quicker rat swipes it! Every rat knows rat law; if you are big or quick, strong or scary, hairy or dirty, or, indeed, all of the above. But just who gets to EAT the cheese?
Cheese Belongs To You is a hilarious picture book about one piece of cheese and the rules that decide which rat it belongs to. The more complicated the situation becomes, the faster you want to read. The only problem is that you start to trip over your tongue so you have to slow down (try saying ‘big, quick, strong, scary, hairy, dirty rats’ quickly 3 times). I love the inventive ways that Alexis has come up with to describe the different rats, so that each one is better than the last. You find yourself anticipating what might be next and I’m sure kids will too. There could be lots of discussion about what sort of rat could come next. Viviane’s illustrations are superb as always and I think her style of illustration is perfect for this story. Her rats all have different personalities, and even on a page filled with them all the rats look different. I especially love the ‘big, quick, strong, scary, hairy, dirty rat,’ with his hook-hand, peg-leg and pet cockroach. I think a great way to introduce the story would be to cover up the text and see if the children can guess why each rat is better than the last. I also love the way that Viviane has incorporated the cheese into every page, including the cheesy end papers.
After the situation turns into utter chaos the story reaches a satisfying conclusion that keeps everyone happy. Grab a copy of Cheese Belongs To You! and share it with the children in your life. I’ll certainly be reading this to every class, from Year 1 to Year 8 on my next library visits.
5 out of 5 stars
Scholastic have just released two great new dinosaur picture books for the young dinosaur fan in your life, Dino Bites! by Algy Craig Hall and Dinosaurs in the Supermarket by Timothy Knapman and Sarah Warburton.
Dino Bites! by Algy Craig Hall is like a dinosaur version of There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly. It starts with ‘This is the dinosaur looking for lunch. This is the lunch looking for a snack…’ and continues on with smaller dinosaurs each time, all looking for something to eat. However, their food is still buzzing and wriggling inside their tummies and with one big BURP everything is back in order. The story is simple enough for even the smallest dinosaur fan to enjoy and the illustrations are appealing because they’re bright and bold. The front cover is sure to jump out at children, with the big T-Rex with its mouth open wide.
Dinosaurs in the Supermarket by Timothy Knapman and Sarah Warburton will appeal to dinosaur fans young and old. I’m sure it’s almost every kid’s fantasy to meet an actual dinosaur, but what would happen if you went shopping with your mum and dinosaurs were everywhere? The boy in the story sees a ‘T-Rex gobbling sausages…Stegosaurus spilling beans…and Apatosaurs chucking frozen peas,’ but when he tries to show his mum, the dinosaurs hide. It’s not long before the dinosaurs have created a huge mess, but the boy gets the dinosaurs to play a game of Supermarket Clean-up. Dinosaur fans will recognise their favourite types of dinosaurs in the story and will have fun trying to find the dinosaurs in their hiding places. The rhyming text is fun to read and the illustrations will have kids in stitches. Sarah Warburton has obviously had a lot of fun creating havoc with her dinosaurs on the page and making a huge mess of the supermarket.
It’s always exciting to discover new dinosaur books because they’re always so popular with young readers. I highly recommend both of these picture books and I know they will have children laughing (and roaring) along with the story.