Tag Archives: Russell Ayto

Eight Recent Picture Book Paperback Releases

I have realised that I am not going to be able to give every book we have to review a post of its own but I do want to write about them all so here’s a multiple review post with no particular theme or order!

Copycat Bear: Ellie Sandall (Hodder Children's Books, 2012)Copycat Bear: Ellie Sandall (Hodder Children’s Books, 2012)
Plot: A lusciously illustrated tale of Mango the bird and her friend, Blue the bear. Blue copies everything that Mango does until Mango gets fed up and leaves her friend…
Age range: Toddler; Pre-school; KS1
Concepts: Frustration; forgiveness; breaking and making friends
Activity: Make patterns on paper, cut up into leaf shapes to make a tree
Also read: Iris & Isaac by Catherine Rayner

Elephant Pants: Smriti Prasdam-Halls & David Wojtowycz (Orchard Books, 2012)Elephant Pants: Smriti Prasdam-Halls & David Wojtowycz (Orchard Books, 2012)
Plot: Bright, colourful and told in rhyme, this tale follows poor Major Trump who’s lost his knickers! Noah goes through all the animals in the ark until they eventually turn up.
Age range: Toddler; Pre-school; KS1
Concepts: Embarrassment; humour
Activity: Decorate underwear templates, make a washing line
Also read: Pants by Giles Andreae & Nick Sharratt

Jack's Amazing Shadow: Tom Percival (Pavillion Children's Books, 2013)Jack’s Amazing Shadow: Tom Percival (Pavillion Children’s Books, 2013)
Plot: Jack is an ordinary boy with an extraordinary shadow, and together they are the best of friends. Until one day Jack’s shadow gets him into trouble and he shouts at him. Emotions are conveyed beautifully in the artwork, making this a great book to discuss emotions as well as a feel-good story with fun illustrations.
Age range: Pre-school; KS1; KS2
Concepts: Anger; forgiveness
Activity: Copy the ideas on the endpapers to make shadow hands, or cut out black paper shadow shapes
Also read: Copycat Bear by Ellie Sandall

Tim, Ted and the Pirates: Ian Whybrow & Russell Ayto (HarperCollins Children's Books, 2006)Tim, Ted and the Pirates: Ian Whybrow & Russell Ayto (HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2006)
Plot: Told in rhyme, a bored boy imagines a swashbuckling pirate adventure during a dull storytime at school.
Age range: Pre-school; KS1; KS2
Concepts: Boredom; imagination
Activity: Look at the cutaway pirate ship, think about what rooms you’d have on your ship and design your own
Also read: Captain Flynn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andraea & Russell Ayto

A Farmer's Life For Me: Jan Dobbins & Laura Huliska-Beith (Barefoot Books, 2013)A Farmer’s Life For Me: Jan Dobbins & Laura Huliska-Beith (Barefoot Books, 2013)
Plot: A sing-a-long book (with CD) about different aspects of farming.
Age range: Baby; Toddler; Pre-school
Concepts: Being busy; working
Activity: Sing!
Also read: Over in the Meadow (various versions available)

Pittipat's Saucer of Moon: Geraldine McCaughrean & Maria Nilsson (Hodder Children's Books, 2012)Pittipat’s Saucer of Moon: Geraldine McCaughrean & Maria Nilsson (Hodder Children’s Books, 2012)
Plot: A kitten imagines the moon is a saucer of milk and dreams of climbing the sky to drink it. The art is gorgeous but I find the text too tongue tripping to easily read aloud.
Age range: Pre-school; KS1; KS2
Concepts: Bravery; dreaming
Also read: watch In the Night Garden for similar surreality

Llama Llama Shopping Drama: Anna Dewdney (Hodder Children's Books, 2007)Llama Llama Shopping Drama: Anna Dewdney (Hodder Children’s Books, 2007)
Plot: Young Llama Llama is taken shopping and gets very fed up. Told in rhyme with lots of humour, and great expressions from the baby llama. A very familiar tale for any parent of young children, and great fun to share.
Age range: Baby; Toddler; KS1
Concepts: Boredom; tantrums; forgiveness
Activity: Play shops
Also read: More in the Llama Llama series; How Do Dinosaurs…? series by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

Florentine and Pig and the Lost Pirate Treasure: Eva Katzler & Jess Mikhail (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2013)Florentine and Pig and the Lost Pirate Treasure: Eva Katzler & Jess Mikhail (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2013)
Plot: Florentine enthuses about the fun they’re going to have in the sunshine outside, until Pig points out it’s raining. They then imagine they are searching for missing treasure and have a fun day inside instead.
Age range: Pre-school; KS1; KS2
Concepts: Imagination; creativity
Activity: Cooking and crafts already in the book
Also read: Tim, Ted and the Pirates by Ian Whybrow & Russell Ayto

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of all eight books by their respective publishers (Hachette Children’s Books, Harper Collins Children’s Books, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, Barefoot Books and Pavillion Children’s Books) for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

The Somethingosaur: Tony Mitton & Russell Ayto

The Somethingosaur: Tony Mitton & Russell Ayto (Harper Collins Children's Books, 2012)

The Somethingosaur: Tony Mitton & Russell Ayto
(Harper Collins Children’s Books, 2012)

 Russell Ayto and dinosaurs again 🙂 These are much nicer dinosaurs though, they’re curvy, less angular and don’t have such big sharp teeth! They’re also incidental to the story as the little somethingosaur may not be an -osaur at all…

He wanders the deserts, the swamps and the plains.
He travels through blistering heat and through rains.
He visits the places that no dino knows.
And little by little… He grows… And he grows.

An egg is lost and sits alone until out pops a very cute and very alone little… something. There are some very lovely little things in the backgrounds of the pages, like a “lost egg” poster where little Something hatches, not to mention an incredibly cute bug who follows Something on his adventure with his own story.

Something asks the dinosaurs he meets if he belongs to them but being rejected he goes on a long quest and eventually finds his mum. The mountain he climbs to get there is very dark and foreboding but there’s a happy surprise at the end. And is he really a dinosaur? Now that would be telling…

The book has gorgeous artwork throughout and a lovely happy snuggled-up-families ending. Great to read when snuggled together.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The Something-O-Saur by HarperCollins Children’s Books for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Captain Flinn and The Pirate Dinosaurs Missing Treasure: Giles Andreae & Russell Ayto

Captain Flinn and The Pirate Dinosaurs Missing Treasure: Giles Andreae & Russell Ayto (Puffin Books, 2007)

Captain Flinn and The Pirate Dinosaurs Missing Treasure: Giles Andreae & Russell Ayto
(Puffin Books, 2007)

This is one of a series of books following Captain Flinn (a boy), his friends (boys and girls – yay!) and their encounters with the ferocious Pirate Dinosaurs. Pirates and Dinosaurs? Genius!

In this story, Flinn and his classmates are visiting a museum (museums – yay!) when they hear that some real pirate treasure has been stolen from an exhibit. The intrepid crew follow clues and are thrust onto a pirate ship and into the clutches of the scary pirate dinosaurs…

Actually, these dinosaurs really are pretty scary with their spiky teeth and pirate paraphernalia (fantastic!) but they’re no match for Flinn and friends so all ends happily after a few shocks and scares…

And don’t think we’ve forgotten
That this pirate’s rather rotten
So let’s barbecue his bottom
With some spicy chicken wings!

The book is written in prose but Andreae’s wonderful rhyming does get a look-in too – being a child at heart I love the barbecued bottom line. Coupled with Russell Ayto’s crazy illustrations this is a fabulously silly and fun book to read.

MG and DG aren’t so into pirates and dinosaurs (DG had a big pirate phase, but not really dinosaurs) so this book doesn’t go into their hit list otherwise I’d have bought the whole set. I think it’s great fun and most dinosaur and pirate loving kids are bound to love it too.