Tag Archives: Meomi

Friday Pick{ture Book}: The Octonauts Explore The Great Big Ocean

The Octonauts Explore The Great Big Ocean: Meomi (HarperCollins' Childrens Books, 2012)

The Octonauts Explore The Great Big Ocean: Meomi (HarperCollins’ Childrens Books, 2012)

MG, DG, and pretty much every single child we know were enrapt by the Octonauts TV series from the moment it arrived on CBeebies two years ago. Actually, every adult we know too. Octonauts are brilliant! When I found out there were original books, they went straight onto the wish list.

We now have three of the four original books and at first I wasn’t sure because they didn’t seem as realistic as the TV series (because talking animals are so realistic!) but they are not the TV series and are wonderful in the own right and for being the inspiration of it.

This is the fifth book of the series, and I think the first to be written after the TV series which is evident in some changes (“Sauci Sausage Dog” is now “Dashi Dog” like the TV series!) It is also the first to be in portrait format, the other four being landscape.

The story follows the Vegimals wanting to find their natural habitat. It therefore is wonderfully educational with mentions of biomes and habitats plus gives a back story to the Vegimals – I hadn’t worked out that Tunip was half tuna, half turnip for instance – although it contradicts “The Only Lonely Monster”‘s comment that Vegimals are all the same…

The Octonauts Explore The Great Big Ocean: Meomi (HarperCollins’ Childrens Books, 2012)

This book is probably my favourite, and a huge hit with MG and DG too. How could it not be, including a pull-out spread of the internal workings of the Octopod, Shellington’s notebook on the Vegimals, lots of pictorial lists and a glow-in-the-dark double spread!

Glow-in-the-dark sections inside books can be a pain – they’re shut up inside a book so can’t charge in the light, plus you can’t read the words if you turn the light off to see the glow-in-the-dark parts – but it’s not a problem with this book. The glow ‘recharges’ really quickly (10 seconds or so in front of a lamp or other light source) and shines very bright and clearly. We’ve been reading the book with a lamp on, then turning it off to see the wonderfulness of this spread but you could maybe read with a torch for added fun.

This is a book to be flicked through, back and forth, to grab the other books and read them again, to play Octonauts games (again!) and for both studying the packed illustrations during the day as well as snuggle up with before bedtime. Great fun, and hugely recommended!

You can see more of Meomi’s art here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/meomi/

This will be the last Pick{ture Book} for a while. I’ve put the linky up for a month, but not sure whether I will continue after that point or just review books as and when instead of having a Friday deadline I generally keep missing! Thank-you to everyone who has joined in so far, and please feel free to tweet me your reviews. I read every one.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The Octonauts Explore the Great Big Ocean by HarperCollins’ Childrens Books for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

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Monster-ous and Beast-ly Picture Books

It’s a week until Hallowe’en, All Hallow’s Eve, when the supernatural roam openly and the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest… Or it’s a commercialised festival where we carve pumpkins and eat too many sweeties! In either case it’s a perfect time for reading monster-ous and beast-ly books. Here are a few from our collection.

Tamara Small and the Monsters Ball: Giles Paley-Philips & Gabriele Antonini (Maverick Arts Publishing)Tamara Small and the Monsters Ball: Giles Paley-Philips & Gabriele Antonini (Maverick Arts Publishing)
From the same team that created The Fearsome Beastie, another beast-ly book but with friendly monsters (and more) this time. Perfect for Halloween this book is filled with witches, skeletons, ghouls, ghosts, goblins and pretty much anything else you can think of! Although the beasies aren’t so fearsome here, the book starts with the rather terrifying act of a child being snatched from her bed. Being a parent, this is the part of the book I’m not keen on, but I was oversensitive when I first read it as April Jones had only just gone missing at the time. It didn’t scare my daughters in the slightest. With fun rhyming, scary moments and lots of cute and safe monsters, this is a book that should appeal to most children. My two monster-mad-munchkins love it, especially the break-dancing werewolf. A recommended Halloween read – and good fun the rest of the year too 🙂

Morris the Mankiest Monster: Giles Andreae & Sarah McIntyre (Random House Children's Books)Morris the Mankiest Monster: Giles Andreae & Sarah McIntyre (Random House Children’s Books)
I think the highest praise I can give this book is that I feel quite ill on reading it! Morris really is a very manky monster. Giles Andreae’s repulsive rhyme coupled with Sarah McIntyre’s disgusting(ly cute) illustrations make a great pair and most small children (and adult males who follow a certain stereotype for that matter!) will love Morris and his gross ways. Highlights include “pustules which dribble like hot melted cheese” and “breath [reeking] of rotten fish paste”. What a delight! Bleurgh! 😉

Bedtime for Monsters: Ed Vere (Puffin Books)Bedtime for Monsters: Ed Vere (Puffin Books)
This is very much a bedtime book, it doesn’t work nearly as well in the middle of the day for instance… Is there a monster out there? And does he, maybe, want to eat you up? Bedtime for Monsters is very much a read aloud book to share with small children with lots of word sounds (e.g. bumpity bump, scritch scratch, creak…) to wrap your tongue around. It’s a book to read when snuggled up tight with small children, teasing them with tickles and scariness until the delightful twist at the end giving you an excuse to kiss and tuck them in for the night. DG is a huge fan of this one, and we have some one-to-one time going through it with her. Wonderfully illustrated with a monster that is far too cute to want to eat you up really, great for any time of year but especially on dark nights…

The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child: Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (Macmillan Children's Books)The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child: Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (Macmillan Children’s Books)
On the one hand, these books need no introduction; on the other, they need an entire post to themselves. Is there anyone who isn’t aware of The Gruffalo? We all think that The Gruffalo deserves it’s reputation and the brilliant repetition in the rhyme makes it all too easy to memorise too – I used to quote this to MG when she was a toddler and I’d forgotten to bring a book out and about with us. For this time of year, where the nights are getting darker and the trees are losing their leaves The Gruffalo’s Child is perfect. I don’t think the rhyme works as well but the story is fun and, well, it’s The Gruffalo 😉

Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins Children's Books)Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
A classic of course, and all the more poignant since Sendak’s recent death, but not one of my favourites to read out loud. It’s a book with so many pictures to be savoured which I find difficult to ‘read’ to small children, they need to read it themselves! The story is of pushing boundaries; of limitations and freedoms; of imagination and of parental love. Perfect subjects for small children.

The Octonauts & the Only Lonely Monster: Meomi (HarperCollins Children's Books)The Octonauts & the Only Lonely Monster: Meomi (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
We all love the Octonauts cartoon series in the house. It’s packed with real information about underwater creatures making it educational as well as fun. The original books are more fantastical but we appreciate both on their own merits, and this book is a fine example. The octoalert is blaring, the octopod is under attack! Except, really, it’s a lonely monster who thought that the octopod was like him. Off the octonauts go to find the monster’s family – they search north, east, south and west. The search pages are wonderful, packed with creatures and each at a different orientation so you have to turn the book 90 degrees to view each double page. The monster may turn out to be the only one of his kind, but that doesn’t mean he has to be lonely. A lovely tale of accepting our differences, and sure to be appreciated by all octonauts series fans too!

I have a soft spot for monsters, which has rubbed off on my daughters so we have plenty of monster and beast books. Others we’ve already written about: The Monster Machine; The Ravenous Beast; The Pirate-Cruncher; Love Monster; plus a special mention for the perfect Halloween book Haunted House.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Tamara Small and the Monster’s Ball by Maverick Arts Publishing for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.