18 Nov 2008,
A big sister works through a long list of differences between herself and her baby brother. He can't feed himself, understand TV or sing songs and inhabits a world where adults eat your ice-cream and put a 'special plug' in your mouth to stop you screaming. In the end, she sees the advantages of being a baby again (for a start, people don't say 'Stop being a baby!' to you), but realises the delights of growing up with a brother by her side.
This excellent book taps into many important themes - time, growing, family, caring for others - and is a wonderful way to show young children the journey of tremendous change they have undergone in their own short lives.
- Rita and Whatsit Go on a Picnic and Rita and Whatsit's New Friend by Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod and Olivier Tallec; Zero to Ten, paperback, £4.99 each
In the first of these two tales of friendship between Rita and her beloved dog Whatsit, they meet strange animals and play hide-and-seek on a picnic, but Whatsit is nowhere to be seen when it starts to rain. In the second story, Alfie comes to play with Rita but finds Whatsit is a better playmate for a boy. Line drawings with mere splashes of red illustrate these simple stories, in which only child and dog matter - the parents appear mostly as pairs of legs!
- Addis Berner Bear Forgets; by Joel Stewart; Picture Corgi, paperback, £4.99
Addis Berner Bear is so bewildered by the big city that he forgets that he's topping the bill as the world's greatest trumpet-playing bear. A touching story partially told only through the pictures.
- I'm Dirty and I Stink; by Jim and Kate McMullan; Frances Lincoln, hardback, £11.99 each
Readers can follow a rubbish truck and a backhoe loader at work. Ideal for fans of big machines, both books are crowded with 'noise' (clank, bing, bong, clunk goes the loader), bold, chaotic text set against brightly coloured pages, and dark, threatening illustrations of the hulking vehicles. Most striking is the enormous range of vocabulary, detailing parts of the vehicles (such as 'hydraulic rams') and the amazing assortment of things that the vehicles dispose of ('wonky washing machines', 'burned-out barbecues', 'gooey gum', 'mouldy meatballs'...).
- Bear Feels Scared; by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman; Simon and Schuster, paperback, £5.99
Bear doesn't it make it back to his friends before nightfall and finds himself alone and scared in the woods. Concerned, his friends set off in search of him and are able to return him safe and sound to their warm home.
- People Who Help Us series - Recycling Officer, Vet, Farmer and Lifeboat Crew Member by Rebecca Hunter; Cherrytree Books, £10.99 each
Four additions to this highly illustrated series, which tracks the working day of a varied set of people. Aimed at children in Key Stage 1 and upwards, but the large number of specially commissioned photographs makes it accessible to older children within the EYFS.
- Rattle and Rap by Susan Steggall; Frances Lincoln, hardback, £11.99
Take the train to the seaside and join in as it whooshes through a tunnel, rattles across a level crossing and rumbles along the track, taking its passengers safely to their station.
Steggall combines vibrant collage artwork with simple, rhythmic text, making it ideal for sharing and reading aloud.