Review also includes:
Ever Clever Eva, Andrew Fusek Peters, ill. Teresa Murfin, 978-0713688832
Bamba Beach, Pratima Mitchell, ill. David Dean, 978-1408108956
These new additions to the ‘White Wolves’ series of stories from different cultures are set in the Caribbean, Czechoslovakia and India respectively.
In Granny Ting Ting Shayla is excited about her cousin Michael coming to stay, as she has not seen him in four years. However, the person who was a fun loving cousin before is now someone who is very superior – or so he thinks… Peppered with details of life in Trinidad, the story has an authentic feel to it that will appeal to adults and children alike. Larkum’s illustrations capture the moods and feelings of the characters accurately. By the end of the book Michael realises that while he may have the upper hand in many ways, Shayla’s patience and kindness are not to be discounted.
Based on a Czech folk tale, Ever Clever Eva has lost nothing of its appeal and humour in the retelling. Eva starts working for a mean uncle, who cheats her out of a cow. However, Eva gets the upper hand – and throughout the book she always manages, by using her wisdom and considerable good sense, to come out on top – so that in the words of the author, she and her husband get to live cleverly everly after. I found myself wanting to read more folk tales once I had finished reading this one, and would imagine that the book will have this effect on other readers too. It is also ideally suited to being read aloud to children.
In Bamba Beach where the setting is a picturesque beach in Goa, life is tough for Hari and his family due to lack of money. And then there is old Amma’s family who do not speak to Hari’s family. Through the activities of the children and a cat, however, that situation gradually changes – which in turn leads to an improvement in everyone’s fortunes. The story is told simply and effectively and there is much in the book that could lead to fruitful class discussions for PSHE and Geography.