An Ugly Duckling, A Mole and A Lumpy Bumpy

It’s been a while since I have posted, for which I apologise. Appropriately, I feel that I have had the March Hare following me around speeding up time. In the meantime, I have two reading challenges on the go – the Popsugar 2016 one and ‘Books and Beyond’, a read-a-thon where you read your way around the world. The latter is being run in the school where I work, and you have to read 300 pages (or 20 picture books if you’re in younger years) to progress from one country to the next, logging your journey on your passport. Some of the children are putting me to shame, too. I’ve read the required pages for the first week but I fear that this week, I’ll be way under. It’s that pesky thing called ‘work’ getting in the way.

Anyway, I’ve had a few books through recently that follow an Easter/Spring theme so I thought I would share them with you if you’re looking for something less chocolatey to enjoy!

The first is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale The Ugly Duckling, by Mara Alperin and Sue Eastland.

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This picture book takes a gentler approach to the traditional storyline, with a supportive and protective mother, refuting claims, by other farm animals, that her large, grey baby is an Ugly Duckling. However, the inevitable abandonment has to take place otherwise the second part of the story would be impossible, and this version has the ‘duckling’ trying to help a mole and getting his beak stuck in the ground while Mum and others fly away (a bit neglectful but never mind… a plot device is a plot device).

I read this to a group of children from Reception and they were entranced. You could see the worry on their faces as the Ugly Duckling was ridiculed and then left on his own, and the relief when he blossoms into a swan. I was quite pleased that they agreed that the Ugly Duckling wasn’t actually ugly at all, and it’s a great story as always for reinforcing messages about accepting people who are different. As a modern retelling it has much merit and the gentle, colourful pictures will no doubt delight readers, without the inherent tragedy of the original.

The next book is Warning! This Book May Contain Rabbits! By Tim Warnes.

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This follows on from its successful predecessor Dangerous, about a label-mad mole who will stick a name on anything that does (or doesn’t) move, regardless of consequences.  In this sequel, he is joined by his friend ‘The Lumpy Bumpy Thing’ (thus labelled in the first book, and who happens to be a crocodile). This unlikely pair is having fun sticking things all over the place when one fluffy white object hops off. The Lumpy Bumpy Thing gives chase and returns wearing a hat, with a tempting message of ‘Warning!  Do not touch!’

The Lumpy Bumpy Thing of course does what we all want to do and … lifts up the hat. Another bunny appears and thus sets the precedence for a series of typical magic-hat-and-bunny sequence. But will the rabbits ever stop appearing?

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The children loved this book and giggled at the sight of Mole desperately trying to label each bunny with a number. They counted along with me and tried to guess what the Lumpy Bumpy Thing needed to do to get rid of the rabbits before they decimated the Mole’s carrot crop. This is a great book for a good giggle and to learn new words and vocab – I could imagine some excellent activities based on this for the children in our lunchtime library club.

The last book that came my way for Easter is a board book called My First Bible Stories by Becky Davies and Anna Jones.

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This compact book tells some of the main stories from the Old and New Testaments for very young children, such as Noah’s Ark, David and Goliath, the Story of Moses, Jesus is Born and Jesus’ Message. The book is illustrated in a colourful and gentle fashion, and the stories stretch to the very basis message from each longer tale. I wasn’t too keen on the retelling of Adam and Eve, which reduced their banishment from the Garden of Eden to Eve being naughty (I know in theory this is the way it is presented in church but it’s not my favourite of tales anyway). As a general introduction to Bible stories, this book could be useful.

If I can’t get online to write another post before Easter, I hope you all have a lovely time with friends and family, however and wherever you celebrate.

Please note that I was sent these titles by Little Tiger Press but this has not affected my reviews or opinions in any way.

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