Sunday, 22 November 2009

Animal Shinanigans!

Animals are the theme for the Blog this week. As the winter nights draw in and the weather gets worse I have been thinking about my chickens and rabbit, making sure
that they are warm enough and of course well fed! I know that in their won way they would quickly let me know if anything was not quite right! For we all know that animals have their own unique way of communicating with us even if itnot always an immediate success! This state of affairs is accurately depicted with great humour and clarity in Lauren Child's 'Who Wants to be a Poodle'. For years I have been thinking that poodles loved their pampered lifestyle bu
t this opinion was dramatically and comically altered after I read this wonderful story. With Lauren Child's traditional and trademark collage illustration this is a fun filled and hilarious story with vintage style and a modern
story. Trixie Twinkle Toes doesn't want to be the pampered poodle she is, she just wants to be a dog. Can she get her message across and help others understand the importance of just being yourself?

This leads me nicely to Thomas Docherty's 'Big Scary Monster' featuring a rather big and scary monster who loves nothing more than frightening all the little animals with a game of Boo. When the tables are turned and he is on the recieveing end of his own games he quickly realises how unpleasent it can be to pick on those smaller than yourslef. This lovely story gently encourges the reader to realise that being yourslef is as important as not bullying those who just smaller than you are. A bold and exciting story with wonderful illustration this is a very energetic book with an important message.

Picture books are not just about finding yourself and learning to get along with others they are also about learning some interesting facts in an exciting and unusual way. They are about the importance of words and pictures working in harmony with one another. 'Say Hello to the Dinosaurs' from Ian Whybrow is a tactile intorduction to these giant animals that have an enduring fascination to all young children. Through the pages of the book with its gentle rhymes children can learn some rather tounge-twisiting dinosaur names, feel their scaly skin and then take the fun test to see how much they have learnt. Great fun for asults and children alike!

These books will all, in their own way, no doubt find their way onto the booksheleves of many chidlren's bedrooms, make sure they don't just stay there but that they are enjoyed for themselves as much as for the messages they contain and have a week of happy reading!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

It is with news galore that I write my blog post today and trying to decide where to start is not easy!

First I must tell you about the launch of Perform-a-Poem, the first e-safe
website for children's poetry performances. The launch took place at the National Theatre in London on 3rd November. This was the brainchild of Michael Rosen whilst Children's Laureate and he has now been able to see his ideas become a reality. At the launch Michael said “I’m hoping that Perform-A-Poem will give an opportunity for children and teachers to experiment and play with poetry in an exciting way. All poems have a voice; sometimes this voice is best heard silently, but most poems enjoy being spoken and performed, because this is how we get to feel a poem.”

Secondly there was the launch of P for Poland photographed by Prodeepta Das and written by Agnieszka Mrowczynska. This wonderful book is a great addition to a series that Prodeepta is building up and introduces children in a very accessible way to countries of the world that they may be less than familiar with. Thanks to the Polish Institute in London for an interesting insight into Polish Culture and a lovely, intimate evening.

Next is the announcement of the winners of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.

Morag Charlwood attended this event on behalf of Armadillo and her report, along with many others, will feature in the December edition of the magazine. In the meantime however congratulations go to Sam Lloyd whose Mr Pusskins Best in Show won the under six prize and Philip Ardagh whose Grubtown Tales:
Stinking Rich and Just Plain Stinky won him the prize in the 7-14 category. These and all the books on the shortlist were wonderful and I hope the prize continues to go from strength to strength.

This week I will be in the audience as Geraldine McCaughrean and Philip Reeve talk about their new novels; finding time to prepare the December edition of Armadillo Magazine and getting together all the wonderful Christmas books that I have been sent ready to provide all my Blog readers with some ideas for some fantastic Christmas gift ideas! So as they say, Watch This Space...!