On Tuesday morning, something special caught our eye over on Twitter. It wasn’t a funny video or an inspirational quote, but a simple hashtag: #picbookday.
Former teacher and creator of the Literacy Shed, Rob Smith, started it all with one tweet:
…and with that, #picbookday was born! An excuse to draw attention to the brilliance of picture books and discuss the impact they can have on readers young and old alike, Twitter was awash with contributions from educators, publishers, the wider book community and more. We spent a considerable amount of time reading content being shared and we implore you to do so too; we’re always trying to draw attention to how books of all types can develop reading and literacy skills in and out of the classroom and Rob’s idea captured our hearts for that reason. TES have a brilliant article on Tuesday’s viral sensation including some thoughts from Rob himself; you can give it a read here and why not share some of your favourite picture books in our comments?
Below are our Friday Reads for this week and, as always, our archive of past recommendations can be found over here.
Apryl: There’s a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart
One afternoon at her Grandma’s house, Nora ceremoniously announces that she’s bored and complains that there’s nothing for her to do. She dismisses the suggestion that she venture outside and doesn’t believe her Grandma AT ALL when she tells her that there’s a Tiger in the garden. Nora’s far too old for silly games like that!
However, Nora (accompanied by her trusty toy giraffe, Jeff) quickly learns that the garden does hold surprises both usual AND unusual…
Every single page of this brilliant book is awash with colour and I especially love the illustrations of the leaves and plants in Grandma’s garden which I would love as wallpaper in my house or printed onto a dress! One to encourage the vibrancy of imagination and something to come back to again and again- a real visual feast!
(Frances Lincoln, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781847808073, find it at a Norfolk Library)
Harriet: Picken; Mix and Match the Farm Animals & Crocopotamus; Mix and Match the Wild Animals by Mary Murphy
We’ve recently put a couple of lovely board books into our Early Years collection. Mary Murphy has created bright splashy pictures of cheerful looking animals in two titles which split open in the middle, so that you can mix and match the animal portrayed on each page to create all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures.
As well as the picture the name of the animal is split across the page, so that, for example ‘goose’ and ‘piglet’ split then combined can become ‘googlet’; or ‘crocodile’ and ‘hippopotamus’ can be ‘crocopotamus’. Good fun visually, and for speech and literacy too!
We also love Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap series, which does a similar thing for slightly older children, and with equal humour and vitality. We hear that this well-loved and prolific illustrator is considering returning to his German roots, following Brexit, but this would be a huge loss for the children’s book world – unless a British publisher ensures his work remains available here. It is worth reminding ourselves that our children need more than ever to hear and see as wide a range of material as possible! We in schools and libraries will try our hardest to keep all channels open.
(Walker Books, £6.99 board book, ISBN 9781406371376 / 9781406357899, find Crocopotamus at a Norfolk Library)
Zoë: Turn off the telly! By Charlie Gardener
This story reminded me of a programme I loved watching as a child: ‘Why don’t you..?’ (or to give its full title: Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set And Go Out And Do Something Less Boring Instead?)’ The youngsters presenting it, who must have had a great time, suggested lots of fun ways to spend the holidays and not get bored.
In a way, this story does the same thing. Mum tells her son and daughter to switch off the telly and do something else. Initially they don’t know what to do. Lots of options are condemned as boring. Does that sound familiar?
The story has bright illustrations to support this simple text aimed at developing readers. Are the siblings successful in finding an alternative to watching TV?
(Readzone Books Ltd, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781783221585)