Shake the Tree!

Shake the Tree!
Chiara Vignocchi, Paolo Chiarinotti and Silvia Borando
Walker Books

I’ve championed Minibombo books on this blog before and I make no apologies for doing so again. This one is my favourite so far.

It all begins when a hungry Mouse spots a nut high up in a tree and determines to eat it. She gives the tree a shake in both directions but it has no effect on the nut. She dislodges Fox though …

who declares his intentions concerning Mouse in no uncertain terms.

Up the tree scampers Mouse and Fox takes over as tree shaker; but he’s equally unsuccessful in dislodging mouse or the nut: something else drops down though and he too is ravenous. It’s Warthog and the shaking process begins again.

Oh my goodness! Fox, Mouse and the nut hold firm but down comes a very growly creature.
His frantic left and right shaking has the desired effect: down tumbles the entire contents of the tree, leaves and all.

Who or what will Bear going to claim as his prize? …

To emphasise the height of the tree, the book opens vertically, but readers have to keep turning to book to keep up with the narrative shifts from vertical to horizontal as the drama progresses, thus mirroring the tree shaking of the creatures.

A delicious piece of theatre superbly orchestrated by the book’s creators and equally superbly acted out by the animal characters whose narrow escapes will delight young listeners.
Equally, thanks to its repetition and brief patterned text, the book is spot on for those in the early stages of becoming readers to dramatize for themselves. Read it to them first though.

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