Book Reviews – Child’s Play (International) Ltd by Emma Davis

5th September 2017

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When you are passionate about picture books and love animals, what could be better than reviewing five beautiful books featuring our furry and feathered friends? The books are all published by Child’s Play (International) Ltd and would make a fantastic addition to any bookshelf.

• That’s Not How You Do It by Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar
In this story of friendship, we meet Lucy the helpful cat. Lucy is admired by her friends who seek her out for help, from blowing bubbles and peeling a banana to telling the time. However, Lucy’s world is soon turned upside down by the arrival of Toshi the panda who arrives from ‘far away.’ Although Toshi can do everything Lucy can, he does things a little differently, much to Lucy’s disgust. Her frustration is evident in the illustrations, particularly the double page spread of her screaming “that’s NOT how you do it!” However, everything changes when Toshi presents Lucy with a gift of an origami crane he has made. This prompts Lucy to realise that she and Toshi can be friends as they begin to share their skills. Toshi helps Lucy with origami and Lucy shows him how to fold paper to make a star. The simple, bold pictures feature lots for us to look at, prompting a conversation between reader and child. What a wonderful story of understanding and celebrating our differences.

Harold Finds a Voice by Courtney Dicmas
The bright, bold illustrations in this book drew me in immediately. Harold is a loveable parrot who children will find funny and want to join in with. We learn how Harold mimics sounds around his apartment, including the kettle, television, toaster and vacuum cleaner. Soon, these sounds are not enough for Harold and he seizes the opportunity to escape through an open window early one morning. He is immediately bombarded by a whole world of sounds which jump from the pages. There’s the honking of horns, the washing blowing in the breeze, helicopters and ships. Harold realises though that there’s a sound he hasn’t made as he contemplates that he has never used his own voice. As he plucks up the courage and makes a loud “rawk”, he is soon joined by lots of new parrot friends who heard him from miles around. Happy Harold invites them home and introduces them to the sounds of his apartment but is proud that he is still the best at mimicking them. What he likes best of all though, is the sound of his own voice. A wonderful story which will encourage children to think about the sounds around them – which sound can they mimic the best?!

• No! by Marta Altés
This is a charming tale of a mischievous dog who thinks his name is ‘No’. Children will delight at the illustrations of him getting up to no good, from digging up the garden and tearing up newspapers to pulling laundry from the washing line. What is so humorous is that No thinks he is being helpful and that his family will love him. In fact, his family have to constantly shout ‘No’ in an effort to stop his unruly behaviour. At the end of the story, we learn that No is confused as he notices the name on his collar – his name is actually Spike! The loveable No will prompt giggles and smiles as children realise why he is puzzled about his name.
• Crunch by Carolina Rabei
This story will enchant with its tale of friendship featuring Crunch, the food loving guinea pig and Cheddar, the hug giving mouse. As he chomps on a tasty dandelion leaf, Crunch contemplates his life and decides that something is missing. But what? Cue the arrival of Cheddar who asks Crunch if he will share his food. Now we’ve already learned that Crunch loves his food so what will he do? Sadly, Crunch decides that there is no way he will share, not even in exchange for a big, friendly hug. Off wanders poor Cheddar but as Crunch feasts on his juicy watermelon, a sense of regret looms. What if Cheddar is in danger? Crunch realises that although he got to eat his food all to himself, he lost out on the opportunity for a friend. All is not lost as Crunch embarks on a mission to track down Cheddar and plucks up the courage to leave him home for the first time. Although his hunt is unsuccessful, as Crunch returns home, who should he find in his cage but little Cheddar, munching on a carrot. Crunch apologies for his behaviour and the story ends with the two enjoying a big hug. A charming story of sharing, thinking of others and making friends.

• Henry and Boo! By Megan Brewis
Henry the dog happily enjoys a cup of tea as Boo, a little rabbit, suddenly appears next to the teapot. Henry soon discovers that Boo is a bit of a shadow, keen to follow him everywhere and join in with everything. The conversation between the two is limited as Boo only says “Boo!” Eventually, Henry has had enough of his little visitor and decides to ignore him. When this doesn’t work, he hides in a box but Boo continues to just say “Boo!” One night, Henry resolves that action needs to be taken and packs Boo up in a box to send him ‘somewhere far, far away.’ However, as Henry leaves to post Boo to his far off destination, a fierce, hungry bear appears. Although Henry is scared, Boo comes to the rescue, popping out of the box, shouting “Boo!” which frightens the bear and makes him run off into the distance. The story ends happily with Henry deciding that he likes Boo after all and envelops him in a hug. What a fabulous story of friendship and tolerance. Children will fall in love with Boo and his antics, joining with his numerous ‘Boo’s’ throughout the book.

Emma Davis is passionate about reviewing books for the early years sector. If you have a book that you would like Emma to review, then get in touch today. Emma is also a Brand Ambassador for Childcare Expo. Find out more here.

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