Anthony Browne never fails to deliver does he? In this vibrant new picture book from the master a little elephant makes quite a big mistake when he wanders away from his herd and into the tempting jungle, mostly because he was feeling just a little bit bored with everything being the same. How often does that sense of ‘blah’ incite a bit of mischief in humans, whether small or big?
At first Ernest finds his jungle journey rather exciting but when he realises that he is quite lost and has no idea at all of how to find his family, his emotions rapidly change. Ernest knows he needs help and he asks one after another of rather large imposing animals; a rude gorilla, a weary lion, an impolite hippo and an uncaring crocodile but none of these are willing to help.
Finally the little elephant comes upon a tiny mouse who quickly volunteers to help. Ernest is pretty sure that such a small creature would be of no assistance at all but working together, the pair are quickly able to locate Ernest’s mum and family.
It is a simple story of how we can find help in the most unexpected of places and that it is not the ‘big important’ people who can be the best friends, and it will certainly resonate with even the youngest of readers who will be able to pinpoint the crux of the theme very easily. My first thought for a teaching experience was to compare and contrast with Aesop’s Lion and the Mouse – one story so very old and one so fresh and modern, yet both with the same simple and direct message.
As always Browne’s illustrations are simply stunning and bring joy to the reader – that jungle certainly is tempting with its jewel-like colours!
Highly recommended for little ones from as young as three for a read-aloud and on up to Year 2/3.
Walker Books, April 2019, 80 pp., $27.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781403687858
Quentin Blake, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, Anthony Browne, Julia Donaldson, Malorie Blackman, Chris Riddell, Lauren Child.
Naturally we are not the only ones to celebrate our creators of extraordinary children’s books and this compilation is a real treat. The above authors, who have all been such familiar names for us all as we share amazing stories for children, have all been UK laureates. Their contributions to the world of children’s books are completely inspiring and now they share their thoughts, ideas and processes with children, in the hope of encouraging the next generation of outstanding authors and illustrators.
Each noteworthy person offers a personal insight into the creative process with sketches, tips, suggestions and techniques.
This is a beautiful volume filled with colour and life and wonderful insights. If you are looking to provide your young readers with some encouragement to pursue their own creative pursuits this will be a super addition to your ‘arsenal’.
Of course, there is also the opportunity to further explore the works of each contributor – so many of whom are considered ‘legend’.
I fear my own bookshelves are going to need some expansion as I think this is another one that I cannot let go. I’m perfectly sure you will feel the same when you pick it up.
Highly recommended for any lover of children’s literature.
ISBN: 9781406381221 Imprint: Walker Australian RRP: $24.99 New Zealand RRP: $27.99
The absolutely mega-talented Anthony Browne brings his own distinctive style to the story of another fabulous artist, Frida Kahlo.
This glorious picture book gives younger readers an insight into the background and artistic genesis of Kahlo who has, over the years, become an increasingly iconic artist particularly among younger people.
Told simplistically with some detail about Frida’s early life and the beginnings of her imaginative journey into her unique artistic journey this book is a pleasure both to hold and to read.
Of course Anthony’s own surrealist imagery is a perfect approach to the work of the most celebrated artists in this genre. The superb colour palette echoes that of Frida’s own works and so is a double insight into her life and work.
The growing number of biographical works for younger readers is proving a huge drawcard for many children and this factional version of Kahlo’s history will be a welcome addition to your shelves. For me, with my love (bordering obsession) with Browne’s work, this will be a keeper for my own shelves.
Highly recommended for readers from around 5 years upwards.
ISBN: 9781406366969 Imprint: WALKER HARDBACK Release Date: October 1, 2016 Australian RRP: $24.99
Once again, one of my very favourite author/illustrators the immensely talented Anthony Browne takes a serious topic and transforms it into a sophisticated picture book that will be a perfect springboard for discussion with young readers.
Willy the chimp has taken us all on many explorations of concerns and everyday stresses and now helps us to unpack anxiety and depression for children. When Willy sets off for the park the day seems sunny and people seem happy but he is targeted by one lone black cloud which appears to follow him. No matter what he cannot seem to join in the happiness of the day because of this pesky hovering cloud. Finally he comes to a solution which banishes it and off he goes to make merry with his usual charm.
Partner this with Anna Walker’s CBC winner Mr Huff for a comprehensive discussion of an issue which, according to research, is a growing concern with many of our children.
Earlier this year I explored sophisticated picture books with my Year 5s and we naturally included Anthony Browne. As well as his picture books (which promptly went flying out the door with excited girls) I also shared Anthony’s outstanding memoir – PlayingThe Shape Game co-written with his son Joe. I would strongly urge you to seek out this marvellous biography and of course, highly recommend this new picture book for your collection.
Perfect for sharing with children from around 5 years upwards.