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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Shhh, Stanley, Quiet

November 18 2014

Linus mentioned a book at a playgroup earlier today. Meg wasn't sure why as it's a book we've barely read. The Snake Who Said Shhh... is a pleasant enough book, it's by Jodie Parachini and Gill McLean. It's part of a range of books by QED publishing, QED Storytime has "discussion points for parents and teachers". This is an interesting page at the back with six suggestions of things to talk about related to the book. It does seem as though it is a little manufactured, there is an interesting theme but not quite a clear story. There's chances of some good animal noises, some fun animal pictures too. There's also a clear ruling on what to give as a present for a baby snake (an owl feather, obviously).

From one of my least favourite to one of my most.  Stanley's Stick is by comedian/poet John Hegley. Hegley's poem Malcolm came second to Spike Milligan's Ning Nang Nong in a 1998 poll of UK's favourite comic poems:
Miserable Malcolm from Morecombe
had Rottweilers but would not walk 'em.
They were stuck in all day
but no muck would they lay
because Malcolm had managed to cork 'em

Stanley's Stick is a fun poem with a lot more alliteration than the usual picture books, so a challenging and fun read (one Amazon reviewer complained it was too difficult for them). It's a book that has grown on us and continues to do so. It encourages imagination, Linus enjoys my blurting a tune when Stanley imagines the stick is a saxophone. Neal Layton's illustrations are so complementary it's hard to believe that the poem ever existed without them. It's also quite possibly the only picture book that mentions Stockport. It is fantastic.

The Quiet Book was a birth gift that came from the US. It is available in the UK. I don't think I've ever seen this book anywhere, either online or in a store, or any mention of it. I find that odd as there are some books that fit a similar tone that are inexplicably popular. The book by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska is a page by page guide to various ways and reasons for being quiet. There's a series of animal characters in fun situations and it ends with being fast asleep, so what better way to end bedtime reading?

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