Tag Archives: Valerie Thomas

Friday Pick{ture Book} #10: Winnie’s Dinosaur Day

Winnie's Dinosaur Day: Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul (Oxford University Press, 2012)

Winnie’s Dinosaur Day: Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul
(Oxford University Press, 2012)

This is quite a special Winnie the Witch book. Not only is it published in Winnie’s 25th anniversary year but it’s the 13th picture book in the series, and Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul have really excelled themselves with both a wonderful story and some of my absolute favourite illustrations so far.

Her drawing looked exactly like the triceratops.
Well, it looked quite like the triceratops.

It helps that I am Oxfordshire born and bred, because the first page just jumps out for me: it’s the Natural History Museum! Or to give it the correct title, Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Instead of twelve roof windows, there’s thirteen (of course) but what a lovely sight for an Oxford girl like me! Er, yes, there’s apparently tons of Oxford references in all of Korky’s illustrations, but I’m a bit slow… 😆

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Museum from Winnie's Dinosaur Day

Museum from Winnie’s Dinosaur Day (image from Wikipedia)

Korky’s illustrations really make the Winnie the Witch books and Valerie’s text is perfect with some subtle dry humour for older readers as well as being enjoyable stories from a young age. In Dinosaur Day, Winnie and Wilbur are coming back from the library when they see something happening in the museum courtyard: a drawing competition! Winnie wants to win, and being Winnie she takes a non standard route to enter. Poor Wilbur unhappily tags along, but in the end everyone is happy even without winning.

I don’t know where to start with how perfect this book is. It’s got dinosaurs; and drawing; and visiting museums & libraries; and not having to win to be happy; and thinking ‘outside the box’ to solve problems; and dinosaurs! Did I mention the dinosaurs?!

DG is a fidget when it comes to reading, she always wanders about, and she talks about all the pictures whereas MG listens to the story first and then wants to go back through. DG also questions everything:

“… Winnie got out her drawing book and her coloured pencils. …”
“Is not pencils, is a paint brush! Look!”
“Yes… But there are pencils there too…”
“Okay.”

MG said the book was both “Brilliant!” and “Magnificent!” I didn’t even know she knew the word magnificent. Her favourite parts were the end papers (if you’ve not read any Winnie the Witch books, all the end papers are drawn by various children); “Big dinosaurs, enormous dinosaurs, gigantic dinosaurs!”; and the final double spread (which is another moment of comic brilliance but I won’t post a picture so as not to ruin the ending.)

'I think we all know who has won the competition.'

One of my favourite parts is all the different dinosaur pictures for the competition, and the lovely little touches like the number 25 appearing on all the paint tubes 🙂

At time of posting, the hardback is only £3.99 with Red House (free P&P if you’re an Extra member, or if you spend over £15), so there’s no reason not to buy several copies to give to every child you know 🙂

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I’m Looking for a Book about… Space

It’s the third “I’m looking for a book about…” carnival from Playing by the Book and this month’s theme is Space.

There is obviously a discrepancy between what I think is on my shelves and what is actually on my shelves because I thought we had loads of books on Fairies (but found none), and loads on Space (but not as many as I thought) and none on the Seaside, Beaches and Oceans (but found far more than on any other subject so must go back and enter that carnival…)

Welcome to Alien School by Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves.

The third of a series of books about Albie, an ordinary boy who extraordinary things happen to. We’ve previously reviewed this book.

 

You Can’t Eat a Princess! by Gillian Rogerson & Sarah McIntyre.

Since reviewing, we now own our own copy of both You Can’t Eat a Princess! and You Can’t Scare a Princess! and they are both still very well loved.

 

Winnie in Space by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul.

Winnie the Witch! In space! What’s not to love? I am a huge fan of Korky Paul’s work, the details are wonderful and make re-reading books a joy. Winnie in Space is the eleventh Winnie book. Valerie Thomas’ text is spot on, these are proper picture books with text and pictures telling the stories together.

In Winnie in Space, Winnie conjures a rocket and off Winnie and Wilbur go for a picnic. But, oh no, space rabbits are coming to the picnic! “Chocolate Muffins? Disgusting. Cherries? Yuck!” but space rockets? Yum! How will Winnie and Wilbur get home after the rabbits have chewed their rocket up?

Every page also has a picture of a planet or object from the solar system with their astronomical symbols, a nice touch to lead to further study if your child shows an interest.

Meg on the Moon by Helen Nicol and Jan Pienkowski.

It’s Mog’s birthday and for his birthday treat he wants to go in a space ship.  Meg makes a spell (that works!) and off they go. This book actually covers a lot of educational activities: counting down from 10 for lift off; weightlessness in space; moon buggy, lunar module and spacesuits; food in bags; jumping high with the moon’s lower gravity; what the Earth looks like from space… Another gem of a book.

Basher’s Astronomy by Dan Green and Simon Basher.

I love these Basher Books, I’ve not written about them before because they’re too old for my girls but I’ve been collecting them nonetheless because they are brilliant. Manga-style characters with simplified explanations of the concepts they represent. This book deserves a post to itself

Finally a free book to download (or buy in physical form) for early readers: Tick Tock Little Facts Blast Off! Lots of photos of real space images and only 100 words for new readers to attempt themselves.

There is also a series of books about the solar system from the same publishers for early readers who want to read a bit more detail.

Next month’s carnival theme is (Starting) School. Thank-you Zoe for these carnivals, it’s been great fun thinking of books to fit each theme!

Fiction Fridays #16: Winnie the Witch

FF#16
Winnie the Witch: Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul (1987)

Winnie the Witch lived in a black house in the forest.

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I think this is a near perfect book. I love all the Winnie the Witch stories but this is the start and a brilliant start it is. The book begins with the description of the black house, which is black on the outside and black on the inside and continues to poor Wilbur the black cat being unable to nap anywhere without being trodden on, or sat on…

Winnie’s solution is to change Wilbur to a green cat so she can see him inside but this has its problems too… I think the story gives a Montessori message – you can’t just change a child (or cat) to suit the environment you have set up for adults (or witches) but you can change the environment to help the child and adult (or cat and witch!)

Apologies for the picture grabbed from the internet but the book is in the girls bedroom, they’ve only just gone to sleep and I’m three days late with this anyhow (the publication date is a backdate – shhh, don’t tell anyone…)