Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Books from Across the Pond

Storytime is universal.  While visiting our friends for two weeks, storytime often came before breakfast, before bedtime, and at various times throughout the day.  All four adults can attest to being "the lap" in this scenario. (You will be spared pictures of our bedheads and PJs)   Imagine one lap and three children, ages 2, almost 3, and 3 1/2, all vying for a coveted place in front of a book.  When all the "He's in my spot" and "I can't see"s died down, they were enthralled with whatever story was on hand.  Thankfully, darling E brought her books to share, so now I share them with you.  Here is a taste of British authors and their unique humor and vocabulary (some of which has to be "translated" when published in the States.)

My personal favorite from our visit:
A Squash and a Squeeze by Julia Donaldson; Illustrated byAxel Scheffler - This rhyming book with a folk-tale feel trips along as a silly old woman is dissatisfied by her small house.  She turns to a Wise Old Man for advice and he tells her to bring in her chicken, her goat, her pig, and her cow.  She thinks these are odd suggestions, but follows the advice.  With each addition, her house become "a squash and a squeeze."  Finally, she turns the animals out, and she discovers that her house is big enough after all.  I'm so glad that I got the chance to read this book in Northern Ireland since I can't seem to find it in our local libraries.  I guess the title phrase proved too much to "translate" into more familiar vocabulary.  It is a shame, because it is a charming book.

Next week, I'll be highlighting this fabulous author, who has written many children's books, The Gruffalo being amongst the most well-known. She is also the United Kingdom's Children's Laureate, term June 2011-June 2013.  She lives in Scotland.

Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae; Illustrated by David Wojtowycz - I was familiar with Giles Andreae, having used his book Giraffes Can't Dance for many years in my third grade classroom.  (A terrific book for celebrating differences and following dreams.)  Rumble in the Jungle, his first children's book, is a collection of poems about the various animals you might encounter on a safari.  From sun-up to sun-down, there are many animals to meet.  The bouncy rhyme makes these encounters fun, as well as educational.  Andreae lives in London.

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell - A child asks the zoo to send him a pet, but finds fault with each selection as the animals get more and more wild!  With flaps to lift and short, bouncy, repetitive text, young children will engage with this story's surprises and perfect pet resolution.  Published in 1982, Dear Zoo is celebrating its 30th anniversary and has certainly become a children's classic.  Rod Campbell lives in Scotland. (Author picture from:

Oh Dear! by Rod Campbell - Campbell has written many books with Buster as the main character.  Toddlers will relate to his trial and error strategy and his blooming independence.  In this story, Buster looks all over the farm for eggs.  Where will he find them?

Silly Moo by Karen King; Illustrated by Marina Le Ray - After getting clonked on the head by an apple, a cow decides to lie down, but she can't remember where she lives!  Her friends label her a "Silly Moo" when she tries all of their houses, for which she is far too big.  Children will love to lift the flaps, chime in when the cow is being a "Silly Moo" and giggle at the surprise ending.  I know I did!  Karen King lives in England.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for these fresh as milk suggestions. I"ll have to check them out. Sounds fun! :)