The Very Brave Bear by Nick Bland, paperback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2013.
Bear is picking berries when he is startled by Boris Buffalo, who emerges from the slimy waters of the bog. Bear claims he wasn’t scared, and that he can do the bravest things that Boris can do. They challenge each other to various activities trying to out-brave the other. Could there be anything that scares these two brave beasts?
The Very Brave Bear is another book in The Very Cranky Bear collection from wonderful author and illustrator, Nick Bland. My pre-schoolers love this series, and they are very fond of Bear.
We love this book! It has been read many times in our family; The Very Brave Bear is funny with lovely lyrical language and detailed illustrations. It keeps my kids engaged and wanting to read more. I’m impressed when Bear and Boris try to wear a beard of bees, but my kids like it best when they are tumbling down the steep hill and getting poked with porcupine quills. We all like the ending to the story.
The Very Brave Bear is suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and lower primary school children. It is a perfect book for sharing a giggle with your child.
King Pig by Nick Bland, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2013.
King Pig has a kingdom full of sheep that don’t seem to like him, and he doesn’t understand why. He desperately wants them to adore him, but nothing seems to work, and this is the one thing that he can’t command them to do. One night he has an idea, and he wakes up all the sheep to make him some new fancy clothes, but it doesn’t impress the sheep. What can he do to remedy the situation?
In this book we see that being powerful doesn’t automatically make one likable. It is much better to be nice and considerate of others, and being bossy all the time only leads to resentment and discontent. This is a hard lesson for King Pig to learn, and a good message for our children. My kids enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as the other Nick Bland books we have. It wasn’t as funny, though we still liked the story and the illustrations are lovely. I liked the way that the sheep had their wool dyed and removed, while my kids liked it when King Pig used one of the sheep strapped to a wooden handle to clean his castle. This is a good book for preschoolers and kids in lower primary school.
* King Pig was an honours book for the 2014 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year in the Picture Book category.
The Runaway Hug by Nick Bland and Freya Blackwood, paperback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2011.
When Lucy asks for a hug before bed, Mummy tells her it is her last one. Lucy promises to return it, and Mummy gives her a nice, gentle hug. Then Lucy runs off to share it with the other members of her family, where it becomes bigger and peanut-buttery, but still nice. The hug runs away with Annie, and Lucy chases her to get it back, but it’s not easy, and she really wants to give Mummy back her last hug.
This is a sweet book about sharing love within families and the differences each family member brings. It contains simple language suitable for emergent readers to try, and delightfully quirky illustrations. At the start of the story, Mummy appears to be searching for a skirt in the dirty wash pile in just her undies and shirt, despite it being almost bedtime. I liked that the house was messy, there were drawings on one of the walls and Mummy was breastfeeding the baby at the end. The steps in the house also made me think of the MC Escher house. I really enjoyed the uniqueness of the illustrations, and the realistic portrayal of a house with four children in it.
The Runaway Hug is a nice book to share while cuddling up with your child. It leaves us with a warm and happy feeling each time we read it together. Best for preschoolers and lower primary school children, this award winning* picture book is loved by both my preschooler and my second grader.
* The Runaway Hug won The Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year in the Early Childhood category in 2012.
When Henry Caught Imaginitis by Nick Bland, paperback picture book, first published by Scholastic Australia in 2008, this edition published by Scholastic Australia in 2010.
Henry was an unusual child, neat and tidy and always serious. Then a strange thought popped into Henry’s head, and suddenly he was off on a pirate adventure, and wrestling with dragons. This didn’t seem right to Henry, so he looked for a good sensible book to read instead, and discovered he had caught imaginitis. There’s only one cure for imaginitis, and he has a long wait to fill.
Another wonderful book from Nick Bland. I love his style of illustrations, with black and white tones moving into more and more colour as Henry’s imagination is sparked. Children don’t need to be always serious and sensible, they should relish their imaginations and play and pretend for as long as possible, that is the joy of childhood. Henry finds out that he shouldn’t be in a rush to grow up, his imagination can take him anywhere and let him be anyone. This is a nice message for our children.
This book is suitable for lower primary school children to read and for sharing with preschoolers. My preschooler is very fond of this book, she likes the things that pop into Henry’s head, especially the big red dragon. The illustrations are lovely and the story is different and I enjoy sharing it with my kids, and then discussing some of the things we would like to pretend to do.
A Monster Wrote Me a Letter by Nick Bland, paperback picture book, first published by Scholastic Australia in 2005.
When the boy intercepts a letter from a monster that was meant for the monster living under his bed, an unusual play date occurs. Both the boy and the monster are rather nervous about their play date and they each try to do some things to impress the other. The boy puts out prickles and piranhas, while the monster bathes and combs his hair. The play date is a roaring success (pun intended!) as they teach each other some new things.
This is a delightful story with rhyming text that my kids want to read over and over. It is amusing and different, and very entertaining. This is a perfect book for preschool through lower primary school, but all ages can enjoy this funny tale. I certainly do!