Tag Archives: minibombos

Cats, Dogs, Baby Animals and Their Parents

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The Cat Book
Silvia Borando
The Dog Book
Lorenzo Clerici
Walker Books
These two small pet manual Minibombo books, along with The Guinea Pig Book, now have a category all of their own ‘Paper Pets’. I’m no lover of furry creatures, especially cats and dogs, but I am an enthusiast where the Minibombo series is concerned and these two are full of interactive fun.
The former is all about keeping your cat ‘purrfectly’ happy from the moment he wakes up until he beds down for the night. That entails some flea squishing, behaving like a mini brolly when it rains, fluffing up – no not ruffling – and then smoothing, his fur; a spot of cheek squeezing bird releasing…

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followed by a gentle behind-the-ears scratching; then Shhh! Sleep time.
Canine care is pretty much taped in The Dog Book. All that entails is a little back scratching (while he performs his down dog asana),

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a spot of rebel rousing when he dozes off again, a belly rub, and  some rather intensive getting active training. Learning to respond appropriately to commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘fetch’ might well cause the odd challenge – to the trainer that is, but it’s all part and parcel of a dog’s day. Lorenzo Clerici adds his own brand of mischievous illustrative humour – including a blank page – to the series.

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Fly!
Xavier Deneux
Chronicle Books
This wonderfully playful, chunky board book is the latest addition to the Touch, Think Learn series. Two cute-looking birds meet, nest, mate and raise a family together. The fledglings eat, grow, and fly –eventually, to find their own tree…
Immersive fun with thick card removable pieces that can be taken from their places and moved to the recessed space on the opposite page to act out the narrative as an adult reads. (Or, a learner reader could enjoy its straightforward text as a solo experience). Either way, they’ll have lots of fun.

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Baby Goz
Steve Weatherill
Steve Weatherill Books
If you’re looking for an ideal picture book for a beginning reader, then look no further, Goz, with its playful patterned language, is your ‘gosling’ so to speak. It’s great to see the little character has re-incubated; he’s certainly lost none of his charm. I’d actually forgotten his wonderful ‘Knock, knock! Who’s there?’ entry into the world; that made me smile all over again, as it has the countless beginner readers I’ve taught since Goz burst onto the scene over 25 years ago, and set off around the countryside …

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in search of his mummy.

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Safe & Sound
Jean Roussen and Loris Lora
Flying Eye Books
Many baby animals, (many, but not all) … / whether very, very big or very, very small … / would not be safe all on their own and need some help unil they’re grown.’ So begins this classy picture book account from a father and mother’s perspective, as they tuck their child safely into bed for the night. They talk of the ways numerous animals  mothers especially, protect their offspring, whether it be in an underground burrow like the little chipmunks, a nest like the bluebird, snuggled at the side of a mother lion, close to a rhino, grizzly cubs huddled in a warm den,

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hiding inside their mother’s mouth as the crocodile hatchlings do, or …

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riding between fluffy wings …

Reassuring, informative and told through Jean Roussen’s gentle rhyming text and stylishly snugglesome retro illustrations from Loris Lora, this is a winner as a bedtime book or in an early years setting.

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Small and Perfectly Formed

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Open Up, Please!
Silvia Borando and Lorenzo Clerici
Walker Books
I strongly recommend you read the blurb of the latest, Minibombo book very carefully before you start: it contains a warning …
On the first page we are presented with six different colour keys, nothing else just white space. Turn over and there’s a cage with a locked door just waiting to be opened …

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and of course, we decide upon a key and do the necessary whereupon the grateful animal within speaks …

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The next five spreads allow readers to release five more small creatures from captivity and then comes this …

 

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so I hope you did as I suggested before embarking on the story. There’s no key here, of course so best to leave it closed or …
Now of course, nobody really expects you to follow my instructions, nor those on the back cover, or the whole thing wouldn’t be the playfully satisfying delight that it is.
This is a brilliant example of small and simple equating to perfection where books for the very young, and beginning readers, are concerned.

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A Cat Called Panda
Melanie Arora and Charlie Brandon-King
Button Books
This is the kind of small, unassuming book that could easily be overlooked which would be a shame; it’s well worth seeking out. The text takes the form of a rhyming dialogue between a little girl, Amanda – an inquisitive young miss, and Panda; no not the conventional kind of panda. This one is a cat, albeit a black and white one and he does have a particular penchant for bamboo. He has something of a superior attitude too, as he proceeds to prove himself worthy of his Panda name; “My eyes are bright green, / I can see in the dark. /My whiskers are long, / and I make dogs BARK! …
Eventually the two do come to an understanding of one another – yes truly …

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and this provides a satisfying conclusion for both protagonists, and young listeners who will all the while, have been delighting in the minutiae of detail in the charming illustrations and the quirky rhythmic conversation.
And, for those teachers of young children working on philosophy with their classes, there’s potential for a community of enquiry type discussion with this book as a starting point.

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Puzzling Pictures, Puzzling Words

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Now You See Me, Now You Don’t
Near, Far
Silvia Borando
Walker Books
Two more brilliantly playful titles in the minibombo series:
In the first we start with a line up of animals, large and small –

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after which two at a time they disappear into the coloured background leaving just their eyes and a tiny clue visible. Then comes the fun of trying to work out which ones are the ‘vanishers’ each time. The good news is, the animals don’t swap places so if you’ve a good visual memory, you’re pretty much ahead of the game until the final …

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no cheating now!
Near, Far is all about zooming in and zooming out. Seven animals are featured and each has three double spreads, the final one revealing the whole creature and I have to admit I only got two right the first time around. What would you say, this is?

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Or this?

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The amount of language these two unassuming little gems can generate is amazing; they’re ideal for sharing in early years settings or one to one with a child, especially those who need a bit of encouragement to talk.

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Guess Who, Haiku
Deanna Caswell and Bob Shea
Abrams Appleseed
An outdoor setting with a concatenation of riddles for young readers/listeners to solve is offered in this lovely, cleverly constructed introduction to haiku beginning with :
   new day on the farm
muffled mooing announces
   a fresh pail of milk.
Can you guess who from this haiku?
This question then recurs throughout the book for the other nine animal portraits …

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each animal posing another haiku …

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thus continuing the chain: riddling haiku, guess who? and turn the page discovery.
Bob Shea offers visual clues too – one for each riddle, and these as much as the verbal posers are likely to have youngsters delightedly calling out their guesses ahead of the vibrant pictorial revelations on the following page.
A final page gives a brief introduction to the haiku form – its structure and intentions.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile addition to the poetry bookshelf.

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