One of my 2013 reading resolutions was to read more picture books. I’m going to share my thoughts on these books in mini reviews throughout the year.
Freddie and the Fairy by Julia Donaldson and Karen George. Pan Macmillan.
This is such a lovely picture book, it has a strong message but puts it across in a humorous manner rather than feeling preachy. Freddie makes wishes for the fairy to grant, but the fairy has a hearing impairment and he doesn’t follow the rules she’s given him for speaking clearly to her – this means his wishes are misheard and he gets lots of wrong things. The wrong things he receives are always funny, I loved the way that whilst the book is written in rhyme which encourages you to guess what the wrong thing will be you don’t always guess right – a couple of the ones I’d failed to predict really made me giggle. The illustrations are lovely, there’s so much life in them.
Oscar’s Half Birthday by Bob Graham. Walker Books.
This book is gorgeous. It’s a really nice wordy story, one that would be great to read aloud. The book tells the story of a family celebrating their baby’s half birthday – there’s a picnic in the park complete with a cake with half a candle and everyone joining together to sing Happy Birthday. The characters are lovely, Oscar’s big sister Millie is wonderful. I particularly loved the illustrations – the way the family look and dress is different to how families are often portrayed in picture books, I think increasing diversity in picture books can only be a good thing and I hope to see more and more like this one.
Where is Fred? By Edward Hardy and Ali Pye. Egmont Books.
This book is so much fun! It is the story of Gerald, a crow, chasing Fred, a fluffy white caterpillar, who is very good at hiding. It’s a lovely take on the hide and seek structure of picture book, I know I delighted in spotting where Fred was hiding each time so I’m sure young children will really love this book. There’s lots of humour in the book, and the ending is lovely. I can see that this would be an enjoyable read aloud book, but I think it would be even better read one-to-one with a child so they really get the full experience of finding Fred each time.