The Truth According to Arthur by Tim Hopgood and illustrated by David Tazzyman, hardback picture book, published by Bloomsbury Publishing in 2016.
Arthur has had a little accident involving his brother’s bike and his mum’s car. He knows it was wrong and he really doesn’t want to get into trouble, so he has a go at bending, stretching and even ignoring the truth.
The Truth According to Arthur is a funny book about telling lies, and how the truth will usually come out. The Truth has been personified and appears beside Arthur throughout the book. When Arthur is modifying the truth, he is in fact performing that action on The Truth, which is a great visual for kids. The stories Arthur tells to cover up what has happened are very funny, as are the accompanying illustrations. I really liked the style of illustration; it was colourful, not overly busy, and conveyed the story in an appealing way for younger children.
I read The Truth According to Arthur to both of my sons, one of whom has a propensity for lying. No situation is too big or too small for him to lie about; he even lies about obvious things, such as telling us he put his toy away when it is clearly clutched in his hand… But he has his Arthur moments too. Most recently pretending to have a concussion at school because he liked the fuss and attention, and he got to come home early. So when I came across this book I thought it might be a great book to share with him. Both boys greatly enjoyed the story. It was excellent that they saw that no matter what Arthur did to The Truth, it was still there, waiting to be acknowledged fully. They also saw that when Arthur admitted the truth, his mother wasn’t too angry after all, even pleased that he had told the truth. I think this will help them to understand that telling the truth is the best strategy; there’s no need to have all the worry and upset that comes with lying.
The Truth According to Arthur is suitable for preschoolers and lower primary school children. I think it is best as a shared read with children to help encourage a discussion about being brave and telling the truth. We will be reading The Truth According to Arthur again, repeating the lesson, as I feel that it will have a positive effect on my boys.
Spot the Duck by Gerald Hawksley, picture e-book, published in 2014.
Chuck has lost his duck called Spot. While he searches for Spot, Chuck meets some other people who have lost things. He searches everywhere, but will he ever find his duck?
With its bright, bold, yet simple illustrations throughout the book, Spot the Duck, will appeal to even the youngest children. I like when Chuck searches near and far.
The story uses simple language and rhymes, making it perfect for reading aloud. It is also quite funny, and had my toddler giggling away.
Most suitable for toddlers and preschoolers through to lower primary school children, Spot the Duck is perfect for sharing a laugh with your little people.
Birds of a Feather: A book of idioms and silly pictures by Vanita Oelschlager and illustrated by Robin Hegan, non-fiction picture book, published by Vanita Books in 2009.
Learn the meaning of some common idioms from the English language in this fun book for children. Each page contains one idiom, accompanied by a lovely and silly illustration. This is a great way to introduce idioms to kids of all ages.
The pictures were definitely my favourite part of this book. All of them were appropriate for the idiom it was illustrating, and they were all quite funny. They showed the literal meaning of each one, while the text explained the metaphorical meaning. I liked the ‘raining cats and dogs’ illustration best. Here ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’ was depicted as being like a raccoon, yet this phrase has always made me think of possums!
The meaning of each idiom was explained and used in a simple sentence to demonstrate its usage. This text was small and upside down in the corner of the illustration. I didn’t like this, and I’m not sure why it was done this way. It just made it harder to read in a setting where it wasn’t answering a question, and I didn’t think it warranted being upside down.
Overall Birds of a Feather was quite good, and I think it would be suitable to share with pre-schoolers and primary school students.
*I obtained this book as a digital copy from Netgalley. I did not receive any other remuneration, and this is an honest review composed entirely of my own opinions.
If You Have a Hat by Gerald Hawksley, picture e-book, published in 2011.
A whimsical rhyming picture book, If You Have a Hat, is perfect for preschoolers. The language is simple and fun, so early readers can also enjoy reading it themselves. The illustrations are clear and bright, and sometimes a little silly. The man eating peas was a favourite of my boys. I liked the hippo in the bath myself. I enjoyed reading this book with my boys, and watching them giggle.
Willakaville: Amazing Adventures of Astronomical Awesomeness by Mathew Heinecke, e-book, 166 pages, published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform in 2015.
Willakaville is a fictional town where many strange things occur. This is the first collection of short stories from Willakaville. Adventure, time travel, a Tomatozilla, banana men, giant squirrels, even a toilet paper thief, it’s all happening in Willakaville.
Some of the stories are long and some are short, but all are rather odd! Many of them made me laugh, but there were a couple that I found a bit boring. Some of the stories are just ridiculous, and those were the ones that I liked the best. It was very hard to pick a favourite story, though I’m leaning towards the one about the magic mayonnaise that had a very interesting effect on all those that ate it! There were plenty of lessons being learnt throughout the book too, such as not to be lazy or play too many computer games. Most of the stories feature different characters from Willakaville, but there is some overlap. The main characters of each story arepredominantly children.
The book also contained a few poems. I’ve found it hard to get my kids interested in poetry books, so this is a nice way to slip a few poems in without them really noticing! ‘Wish from a Fish’ and ‘This is a Cat…’ were both funny rhyming poems, which I enjoyed.
With it’s simple language, self-contained and easy to read stories, this book is suitable for lower to middle primary school children. Teenagers and adults can still enjoy the humour of these short stories, but I think kids will like it best. There is a second volume of Willakaville short stories available now, and hopefully more to come soon.
*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.