Showing posts from February, 2021

Review: Ham

Animal lover that I am, I am also an unashamed omnivore with a discomfiting appreciation of bacon and ham, thus a picture book so titled could not fail to set the salivary glands in motion. Ahem… but jokes aside this is a serious(ly funny) situation for one little porker aptly named, Ham. Ham and his barnyard buddies, Satay, Chops and Stew – notice the theme here – luxuriate in each other’s company and their benignly serene farm lifestyle until one day reality arrives with a heart-seizing shock; the realisation they are part of the human food chain. This is a devastating life blow that Ham takes particularly hard owing to his gorgeously, plump, voluptuous, wobbly …rump. Determined to foil the farmer’s intent and their inevitable fate, Ham and his mates devise multiple plans to ensure they do not end up on a dinner plate. Each salvation attempt results in near annihilation but Ham refuses to be beaten, read: eaten. They decide on a more vegan approach but the farmer’s veggies are re

Review: Ling Li's Lantern

In just a few more days, the lumbering Ox takes over from the scurrilous Rat in the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rat was arguably one of much shifting and called for quick-wittedness at which the wee rat excels. The new year of the Ox promises a more measured, assured and progressive adventure, one marked by restoration, resoluteness and renewed strength. I wonder how this will translate on a global scale. One thing is for certain, no matter what your beliefs or desires, all can be enhanced by wisdom, patience and the practice of compassion. So this year’s Chinese New Year offering is the enchanting picture book by new picture book duo, Steve Heron and Benjamin Johnston, Ling Li’s Lantern . Ling Li is the youngest child of Da Zhi, a highly respected village elder. She is his only daughter and shares the family home with quick-thinking, Jingming and fun-loving, Miao. Mindful that all aspects of success are built with wisdom, Da Zhi devises a great challenge for his offspring to

Book Bites: Under The Sea - Picture Books Going Beyond the Sea

I often tell kids how lucky I am to live so close to so many wonderful worlds, Sea World being one of them. A recent visit beyond the sea to this world famous attraction plunged me back into all things Atlantis. It was marvellous. Fortunately, there is a raft of equally phenomenal picture books into which youngsters can immerse themselves for fun – and learning. Here are just some of the special ones. Bad Crab This is basically a wordless picture book with a restrained use of just one expression however when coupled with Philip Bunting’s comically styled illustrations, the result is a visually powerful and entertaining narrative. Crab is a cranky crustacean whose first reaction to newcomers is to claw nip them, an anti-social behaviour not uncommon among young biting pre-schoolers. His unaccommodating mood swings push his sea-mates literally to the edge and force them to abandon their cantankerous chum. A change of circumstance forces Crab to re-evaluate his behaviour leading to a re