Play and Pondering Possibilities

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Blocks
Irene Dickson
Nosy Crow
Most children, young and not so young, delight in block play. It’s brilliant for developing concentration, spatial understanding and creativity; and, sometimes, sharing and co-operation: however, at least at the outset of this story, not the last two.
First off we meet young Ruby busily balancing and building with her blocks – all of one colour notice.

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Along comes Benji with his blocks intent on doing a bit of constructing and off he goes. Soon both are absorbed in their play …

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But then, Benji reaches out (hand across the gutter) for one of Ruby’s blocks, seizes same leaving a cross Ruby desirous of her block. “Mine!” each of them shouts and pretty soon, catastrophe …

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Time to repair the damage and work together; that way lies a super co-creation …

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until Guy appears on the scene. Guy has green blocks. What do you think will happen now? Maybe these endpapers will give a clue …

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A wonderfully simple story on the sharing theme that will surely pack a powerful punch with early years audiences; it’s a must have book for pre-school settings and families with very young children and even has die-cut block shapes on the front cover. What’s more, with its easy to read, brief text, this debut picture book is ideal for those just beginning to read for themselves.

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Over the Ocean
Taro Gomi
Chronicle Books
This book was first published in Japan over 30 years ago but it still has plenty to say to children today, especially those of the contemplative kind. It features a girl who stands at the water’s edge gazing out across the ocean waves and wondering. ‘What is in the ocean over the ocean?’ she asks; ‘Are there farms over the ocean?’ or …

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Maybe there are kids living there’ and ‘Are they all friends?

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She never moves from her lookout spot but continues pondering on the possibilities of fairs, animals, the night-time, different climates and  other watchers …

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and then makes a wish. A wish that, so it seems in her mind’s eye at least, is about to come true … Her longing is heartfelt and readers will surely feel it too.

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The whole thing is a marvellous, if quietly spoken celebration of the imagination and the wide, wonderful world. I particularly like the way that the author has given the girl a credible child’s voice: ”Maybe there are kids living there … I bet there are probably some bullies.” She certainly doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind there.
Those who look closely will notice that the details in the illustrations open up further questions – where are all those boats going, especially that ocean liner? Whither the air balloon? And many more in addition to those the girl herself raises.

Use your local bookshop   localbookshops_NameImage-2

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