Review: The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse is the latest effort from the award-winning children’s writer Mac Barnett, and once again features illustrations from his frequent collaborator Jon Klassen. It tells the story of a mouse who is gobbled up one morning by a wolf. Needless to say he is terrified by this, until he encounters a duck living in the wolf’s belly. The duck was has made a comfortable home for himself, declaring to the mouse that “I may have been swallowed, but I have no intention of being eaten.” He and the mouse become good friends, and spend their days eating fine food, dancing and generally causing the wolf a great deal of discomfort. But one day this happy and carefree existence is threatened by an opportunistic hunter.

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Review: Thank You, Bees by Toni Yuly

“From sunshine and rain to plants and honey, there is so much to be thankful for.”

This is the premise of Thank You, Bees, the newest title from Toni Yuly. In the author’s own words, “Thank You, Bees was inspired by the curiosity of my young son. I think all children feel a connection to the natural world, and now more than ever, we need to encourage this feeling and to nurture the awareness that we are a part of this planet and that the gifts all around us cannot be taken for granted.”

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Review: How the Sun Got to Coco’s House by Bob Graham

Bob Graham’s most recent title, How the Sun Got to Coco’s House, was highly commended for the Charlotte Zolotow award, and it’s easy to see why. As the title suggests, it relates how the sun travels around the world during the Earth’s orbit, eventually finding its way to the home of a little girl called Coco and illuminating her day playing in the snow with her friends.

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Review: Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson

The 25th anniversary edition of Owl Babies features a text in the front of the book that describes how its authors ‘touched on a timeless truth – capturing the attachment and deep affection between a mother and child with humour and tenderness.’ The back features two quotes from the authors themselves – Martin Waddell comments how the book was inspired by seeing a young child lost in a supermarket, repeating the phrase “I want my mummy” over and over again, which of course became key to the story. He adds also that he hopes he has reassured each child who reads it that their fears are reasonable, and that their loved ones will always be there for them. Illustrator Patrick Benson, meanwhile, talks about the challenge of creating a world that was ‘realistically dark, but ultimately unthreatening’, and about helping to abate a child’s fear of the night and reassure them that their mum will always be there. Judging by the fact that the book has shifted four and a half million copies since its initial publication in 1992, and was subsequently adapted as a short animation for the Channel 4 Schools show ‘Rat-a-tat-tat’, they have clearly succeeded in their aims. 

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