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Thursday, 4 December 2014

All At Sea

December 4 2014

Another story time, another Julia Donaldson book! The Snail and the Whale is a beautiful book, Axel Scheffler's illustrations are more art and less cartoon than in other books. That is, unless you're the Amazon reviewer who became thoroughly depressed by Scheffler's whale ("The creature he depicts is a twisted parody of a whale, its backbone must be broken or worse.").
This book is probably pitched a little older than the others, there's not much chance to participate. Linus listens attentively and he has enjoyed playing with the activity book of the same title. The story is intertwined well with the pictures. It has a nice rhythm and a good build of tension that makes for an enjoyable and entertaining read. I could see this book being helpful as an introduction to reading longer story books. It also seems, to me at least, more like a poem than some of her other books, which are often song like in structure (and some are/were songs).

If you can manage to look, here's the cover



The Sailor Dog has no negative reviews, presumably no one who knows anything about dogs has read it. The anthropomorphic sailor dog of the title is certainly not a regular dog, he wears a hat and shoes for a start. This book is much longer than other more popular Margaret Wise Brown books. I find the reading to be much more strained, it's certainly more of its time (1953) than some other MWB books we have. Garth Williams' illustrations are also more traditional. It isn't one we get out very often but I have seen Linus reading this on his own, although I think tiredness was taking over his enjoyment of it tonight. It's an interesting contrast to The Snail and The Whale, they're possibly a bit long to read together, especially with a more tired than usual Chap on my lap.



It's sometimes hard to get the balance between what Linus likes and what we like too. It's easy enough to get ones we both like, Oliver Jeffers and Julia Donaldson fit that profile well. Margaret Wise Brown said she tried to write stories the way children wanted to hear them and worked with illustrators to get a similar result.  Lucy Cousins knows her market very well, Linus always likes her books, both the ones we have and when we get them from the library. Maisy Goes on Holiday is another of the Maisy experiences books we have. There's not much to them, they're a simple linear story of Maisy and her friends going on holiday and having holiday experiences. They are remarkably relatable for Linus. A simple picture of an ice cream or the sea can get excited recognition even when he's over tired.

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