Saturday 5 July 2014

Dragon Loves Penguin, Max the Brave and I Heart Holidays

Three small summer treasures for you-

We stopped actively accepting review copies some time ago,  I have to say it's just as well. Other commitments have put this blog on a bit of a slow-burn and I would throb with guilt if I felt I was accepting lovely freebies under false pretences.
But now and again they still plop through my letterbox and I can't pretend that isn't a pleasure. Surprise book post is the best sort of mid-morning treat- demanding a cup of tea and biscuit break to savour.

One such surprise book this week was Debi Gliori's 'Dragon loves Penguin'. It was a particular treat because I almost certainly wouldn't have come to it any other way and it IS a lovely book. Thank you book delivering fairy from Bloomsbury.

Bib the baby penguin curls up with his/her (up to the reader to decide-good) mother for a bedtime story about their home of ice and snow and...dragons! Antarctica turns out to once have had a thriving colony of a small reddish-gold variety living in a volcano there. Who knew? But perhaps there were dragons everywhere once...
Anyway one particular dragon is left eggless when all the other dragons have laid their own-

'"Poor dragon," says Bib. "I know," says Bib's mummy, "but... sometimes things happen for a reason. Look." "Oh!" gasps Bib, "poor egg."

Given the many different ways parents and children may come to each other; whether through adoption, fostering, surrogacy or step-parenting it's wonderful to have a book that focuses on the only important thing you need to make a family; love. This book sings with love. Its message of acceptance and valuing difference is simply and softly told; reinforced by the easy fluidity of the pastel illustrations. It has heart without being saccharine- a particularly hard balance to strike.
A good story but also a useful story for libraries, nurseries and any homes which don't fit standard ideas of a nuclear family. So that'll be everywhere then.

The second book which fell into our lap unexpectedly this week thanks to my Big Win is Ed Vere's 'Max the Brave': A beautiful signed copy of 'Max the Brave' in fact. Lucky me. An exemplary picture book lesson in how less is often more, this is a familiar play around the jokes of mistaken identity rendered fresh through the kooky-eyed charm of its protagonist. Max is one no-messing charismatic kitten. His journey across deliciously uncluttered monochrome pages in search of a mouse to fight WILL make you smile. There's a good final joke too. Pretty. Clever.

And finally a book which entered the house through the entirely conventional route of being purchased in a well behaved manner from an Independent Bookshop. Except that I wasn't that well-behaved in practically snatching it out of the particular Independent Bookseller's hands when I saw it. And the fellow reviewers weren't that well-behaved in doing a big wrestle on the sofa for first rights to read it either.
It is Clara Vulliamy's third Martha and the Bunny Brothers book; 'I Heart Holidays' and it is as warm and happy-making as the first two. An exemplary picture book lesson in how more can be more too; every page packed with delicious beach holiday detail to ponder and discuss.
One page in particular needed a LOT of discussion in this house...
And if you feel you need to join this discussion I recommend the healthy lolly debate in progress on Clara's blog here.
OH WE DO WE DO WE DO!! (two more weeks to go...)
'Dragon loves Penguin' by Debi Gliori, pub Bloomsbury, isbn 978-1408839508 Source- review copy from publisher.
'Max the Brave' by Ed Vere, pub Puffin, isbn 978-0723286691 Source- Whoop whoop lucky competition win!
'Martha and the Bunny Brothers; I Heart Holidays' by Clara Vulliamy, pub Harper Collins, isbn 978-0007419210 Source- a real life made out of bricks shop which accepted money.

Whatever the source our decision to review is, as ever, our own.

No comments:

Post a Comment