Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, paperback picture book, published by Alison Green Books in 2010.
Zog is the largest dragon in Madam Dragon’s class. He is learning to fly, roar and capture princesses, but while he tries very hard, he also tends to be a bit clumsy. Luckily for him, every time he hurts himself, a friendly girl comes along and helps him. As the years pass, and the girl grows older, perhaps they will find their true calling together.
Dragons, dragons, dragons. This book is about dragons, and much like they react to books about dinosaurs, my kids gravitated straight to this book. I was pleased to find that it is witty, amusing and fun with rhyming text (I really am a sucker for rhymes!). I like to read it aloud and laugh with my kids, we always crack up when Zog catches his own wing tip alight! The illustrations are perfectly matched to the story, and as always from Axel Scheffler, beautifully detailed with bold colours and memorable characters. I recognised some little creatures from The Gruffalo among the scenery too. I found the ending unexpected, yet perfect. A beautiful book to share with primary school children, Zog, will entertain parents as well.
Jack and the Flumflum Tree by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts, hardback picture book, published by MacMillan Children’s Books in 2011.
Jack’s Granny has developed the Moozles, and there is only one known cure, the fruit of the Flumflum tree. The Flumflum tree grows on the distant island of Blowyernose, but Jack is determined to reach it and return with the fruit to cure his Granny. He builds a boat, secures a crew, and gets ready to sail. Granny gives him a patchwork sack full of interesting objects that she thinks the adventurers may need, and they set off, but what awaits them along their journey?
Jack and the Flumflum Tree is another brilliant and engaging story book from Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo. The lyrical text, which just begs to be read aloud, sucks even the most reluctant reader into Jack’s story. There is action, misadventure, bravery and inventiveness along their journey, with plenty of laughs. Granny’s sack is a wonder, and what Jack does with each item is clever and entertaining. The repetition of Jack’s reaction to each new situation is memorable, and has spurred my children into using the phrase “Don’t get your knickers in a twist!” when someone is flustered, or just inserted into everyday conversations with no context!
All the pages are beautifully illustrated, with expressive characters, and interesting scenery. I particularly like Stu’s and Rose’s facial expressions each time another complication arises. There are many little creatures hiding among the foliage on the island of Blowyernose, which my kids like to spot.
Suitable for primary school students, Jack and the Flumflum Tree, is also great for parents, a book that will be hard to get sick of. All my children love this book, and it is often called upon for bedtime reading.
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, paperback picture book, first published by Macmillan Children’s Books in 2001, this edition published by Macmillan Children’s Books in 2002.
The Witch and her Cat are going for a broom flight in the starry night, but things keep blowing away. Each time they descend to the ground to recover the lost item, there is another animal wanting a ride on their broom. Can the broom hold all of these animals, or will they come to a sticky end?
Room on the Broom is another delightful rhyming book from the creators of The Gruffalo. This is a fun book to read aloud with children of all ages, but is especially good for pre-schoolers and lower primary school children. The illustrations are nice, and the story is funny, and I enjoy sharing this one with my kids. There is a dragon in this story, which my kids thought was a little scary the first time we read the book, but that hasn’t stopped them requesting many re-reads! This is one of our favourite picture books.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, paperback picture book, published by Macmillan Children’s Books in 1999.
A little mouse strolls through the woods, several predators offer for him to join them for a meal. He frightens each of these animals away with his description of the fictitious monster, the Gruffalo, but then he actually meets one. The Gruffalo thinks he would like to eat the mouse as well, but the mouse has a clever idea to escape becoming lunch.
This is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that is extremely well loved in our home. The kids can recite this story because we have read it so many times. I love it too, and I am always happy when one of the kids choose it for story time. The story is written in rhyming text, and the mouse’s description of the Gruffalo is delightful. It is amusing and original, and not at all scary. It is a wonderful book to share with children of all ages. The Gruffalo is a must have for every child’s book collection.
The Snake Who Came To Stay by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Hannah Snow, paperback, 77 pages, published by Scholastic in 2013.
This is a chapter book written by the author of one of our favourite books, The Gruffalo. The summer holidays are coming up and Polly has advertised her home as a holiday place for pets. After she has accepted responsibility for Bill and Ben the guinea pigs, Charlie the Mynah bird, Doris the snake and a pondful of fish next door, Polly’s mum says that is enough. The guinea pigs make lots of noise, Charlie keeps loudly imitating everything, and Doris hisses quietly in her tank in the kitchen. It’s a rather noisy holiday home for pets, but everything is going well until Polly leaves Doris’ tank lid open. Her mum is not impressed, but surely Doris will turn up somewhere soon.
This is an easy chapter book with black and white illustrations throughout. It was a nice story with likeable characters and some funny bits. Suitable for lower primary school children, I read this to my preschooler, and she enjoyed it. My first grader read this and it was an easy read for her, but she liked the story.