This week I am going to post Two Reads of the Week because both of these picture books entranced my classes in different ways.
Can You Catch a Mermaid? by Jane Ray, published by Orchard Books
What it’s about:
Have you ever seen a mermaid? Eliza has! And this is the story of how she and a little mermaid become the most inseparable of friends…
This beautiful story by Jane Ray was one of my daughter’s favourites when she was little. In fact, we did a review of it SEVEN years ago (goodness, where has the time gone?) and reading it today made me feel quite emotional! (You can read it here: https://childtasticbooks.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/review-can-you-catch-a-mermaid/) When I mentioned the title last night to my husband, he even remembered the main character’s name without prompting, which shows how much of an impression it made on us as a family as it’s been a few years now since we read it.
It had a similar spellbinding effect on the classes I read it to this week. They sat in complete silence – no fidgeting even! – as we read about little Eliza and her fisherman father Tom, who always asks his daughter what she would like him to catch as he sets out to sea. The answer, unsurprisingly, is ‘a mermaid!’ Meanwhile, we are introduced to Freya, a mermaid who wants to visit land and must remember to bring something from her ocean home to be able to return again to the sea. She and Eliza become friends and play together on the beach, until one day Freya is distraught because she has lost her mirror – her special thing from home – and is stranded on land. At this point, the children looked horrified – you could have heard a pin drop (even on the carpeted floor). They all really enjoyed the story and I hope it will become a firm favourite with them too. The storytelling is as magical as the gorgeous illustrations Jane Ray is rightly famous for – full of rich colours and movement. One to treasure.
Slug Needs a Hug! by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross, published by Andersen Press
What it’s about:
When it begins to bug slug that his mummy doesn’t hug him, the other animals come up with various ideas to make him more attractive. Soon slug has a new look – so will mummy hug him now?
It must be said that I love the collaborative team of Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross. Their stories are hilarious, original and full of fun and this did not disappoint! Shortlisted for the 2016 LOLLIES (Laugh Out Loud Awards) the humour comes fast in this rhyming tale of the lengths poor slug goes through to get a hug from his mother (see if you can get the point of this book from this description and the title alone – some children did). The rhyming pattern alone (lots of assonance and onomatopoeia) had the children in stitches. This is a great story for just a laugh but it would also be excellent for literacy teaching too.