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This issue’s cover illustration is from Thank You, Mr Panda by Steve Antony. Thanks to Hodder Children’s Books for their help with this cover.
By clicking here you can view, print or download the fully artworked Digital Edition of BfK 220 September 2016 .
These books taking young children on exciting nature adventures introduce a distinctive new ‘voice’ in picturebook illustration. Abbie Cameron is someone to watch as she has made a great start in this series with arresting pictures with a strong line and an intense palette. In Animal Surprises the creatures shown in the spread ‘Beaks or Trunks or Tails’ gaze out with keen eyes to connect successfully with young readers or listeners. As well as attractive, life enhancing pictures of birds and animals, this illustrator often includes a human presence- even if it is just someone’s bare feet perilously close to a large crab! In The Word Bird a girl looks through binoculars at swans and their young, and there is a snorkeler observing corals and tropical fish in Into the Blue.
Nicola Davies’ rhyming text, often sweeping round the illustrations and changing in size and orientation to enhance meaning, will please and inform. She knows just how to make scientific concepts interesting and accessible, even to the youngest children. For example the notion of the food chain is introduced in Into the Blue when we see ‘silvery sand eels that sparkle and glimmer, And puffins collecting them up for their dinner!’The Word Bird shows the huge variety within one big category – birds, and Animal Surprises reveals the different sizes and shapes of animals and the different ways in which they move. All this creates a space in children’s minds ready for more advanced teaching and learning about the natural world later on. The sharing adult will be able to help children link what they see in the books with their own outdoor experiences. I’m sure these books will be favourites to look at again and again – so it is fortunate that they are hardbacks using quality paper for the pages.