Sun Slices, Moon Slices; Three Cheers, Charlie Dragon!
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This issue’s cover is from J K Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book in what is already a classic new series. The first two titles were Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for their help. Cover image based on original artwork by Cliff Wright
Sun Slices, Moon Slices
Illustrated by Karin Littlewood
Three Cheers, Charlie Dragon!
Illustrated by Klaas Verplancke
Two titles from the ‘Read with Little Hippo’ series claiming ’short, simple texts and supporting illustrations’ which ‘help beginning readers to follow the stories for themselves’.
In the light of all this, Gèras’s story is surprisingly complex. Lewis’s emotions are tracked as he goes, reluctantly, to his childminder’s, plays, eats lunch, and returns home, taking thoughts from his day with him. Littlewood’s skilled watercolours are used to give an impression of the story rather than a literal expression of it; she is particularly good at showing emotions.
Three Cheers, Charlie Dragon! is a more straightforward story, of toys who wake up to find the rain has washed their colours away. Quick-thinking Charlie saves the day. The illustrations, in cheerful cartoon style, reflect the text much more directly here.
These are fine stories in themselves – and fulfill the part that any well-written, imaginative story plays in the journey towards literacy. Little Hippo’s claims, however, should not be taken too literally – these are not ‘teach your child to read’ primers. In addition, the large Hippo logo forming the frontispiece in each volume sits uncomfortably with the subtle watercolours of the first and the cartoons of the second, giving a confused message about who the intended audience is.