When Molly wakes up in the night, she hears the sound of a step on the stairs. It could be a crocodile creeping up to catch her. Or a giant giraffe out on the landing or an enormous elephant turning the doorknob, or even a monster come to gobble her up. Molly throws her monster-catcher at the beast, only to find that she has captured her mum, come to give her a reassuring kiss and cuddle.
The story and language will resonate with young children, but the brilliance of this book lies with the detailed illustrations that are blue and white throughout. This wonderful choice of colour captures the mystery, tension and terror that can unfold when children find themselves awake and alone in the middle of a moonlit night, with imagination running out of control.
- Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger; Frances Lincoln, paperback, £6.99
Through a focus on colour, young children can start to appreciate the wonders of the natural world and how colour affects our emotional and creative lives. Yet most early years books on colour are incredibly uninspiring (often with the added problem of poor printing making black appear aubergine and red appear orange-ish!). Thank goodness, then, for Lemons Are Not Red, now out in paperback. Through the clever use of cut-outs and by simply turning the page, children can discover that a lemon isn't deep red, but bright yellow; a carrot isn't purple, but orange; a flamingo isn't grey but pink... A classic!
- Boys Are Best by Manuela Olten; Boxer Books, paperback £5.99
This truly funny story starts with our two little 'heroes' lying side by side in bed having suddenly woken up, it seems, to just how silly girls are. By their reckoning, girls just play with their dolls all day and take their teddies to bed at night because they're scaredy cats, scared even of... ghosts. Ghosts? Suddenly, our brave lads don't feel so sure of themselves. Now at the end of a long day of mocking little girls, they decide to seek safety next door - in their sister's bed.
The illustrations flow between the potato-looking boys behaving badly and the girl playing quietly, oblivious to - or unfazed by? - their ridicule. The publisher recommends this book for the three-to-six age group, but I think it will be slightly older ones or only the most mature of EYFS children who will really appreciate the male bravado and humour of the story.