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This week, we have three book recommendations for you to consider, selected by the Junior Librarians Lia, Avery and Mia.

Firstly, Lia from 2HD recommends Mrs Noah’s Pockets, written by Jackie Morris and illustrated by James Mayhew

Lia’s reason for her choice: “I really love the illustrations in this mysterious story.”

Mrs Harvey would also support Lia’s choice. Shortlisted for the 2019 Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist, Mrs Noah’s Pockets is a wonderful collaboration by Jackie Morris and James Mayhew. While Mr Noah is busy constructing the ark and reflecting on the opportunity to rid the world of ‘troublesome creatures’; Mrs Noah has a plan of her own – to preserve every species – however unusual or different they may be.

The themes of judgment and inclusion can be explored by discussing questions such as who the troublesome creature might be? Who is to say who the troublesome creatures are? What makes a creature troublesome? Are you troublesome? Such questioning explores the ideas of difference, individuality and uniqueness. They may discover that the troublesome creatures are, in fact, fantastic beasts!

With older children the art of storytelling can be explored. The opening sentence, ‘It rained’, is effective in its simplicity. It sets the scene in just two words. This is a skill that the children can transfer to their own creative writing – understanding how varying the sentence length can create effect. The story is rich with literary devices which help the reader to imagine the scene: ‘as dark as a bruise’, ‘streams of pathways’ and ‘rivers of roads’.

There is a similar richness to the illustration and gives the reader the opportunity to analyse the use of line, colour and tone. How does the mood change as the colours darken? What difference does it make if the lines of rain are vertical or diagonal, broken, thin or thick?

It really is such a magical story with so much to explore and discover …

Next, Rushika has selected Daisy – Really, Really written by Kes Gray and illustrated by Nick Sharratt.

Rushika’s reason for her choice: “This story is VERY funny and has lots of twists and turns. I’m sure everyone will enjoy this book!”

Mrs Harvey supports Rushika’s recommendation. Kes Gray’s quirky humour is a huge hit with millions of children. This book is a joyful collaboration from two giants of children’s literature: Kes Gray and Nick Sharratt. Kes Gray is one of the UK’s bestselling authors for children with over 2 million copies of his stories sold. Not only is he author of the award-winning Daisy picture and early chapter books, he is also responsible for the chart-topping Oi! series with illustrator Jim Field. Nick Sharratt is an established illustrator (and author) who has won numerous awards for his big and bold illustrations which leap off the page and capture the imagination and interest of his audience.

In Daisy – Really, Really, we learn of Daisy’s second adventure in the series. It’s an exciting night for Daisy – she’s having her first ever babysitter! Impish Daisy convinces Angela that she only eats chips and ice-cream for supper; her bedtime is at midnight; her mum prefers her to drink lemonade; she never has a bath; and she always sleeps in her clothes! Every time Angela asks Daisy if she is really telling the truth, Daisy replies ‘Really, really.’

So what should Angela tell mum when she enquires if Daisy went to bed at 8pm after a sensible supper and a hot bath? It’s a really, really tricky decision for Angela…

Comical books seem to have an irresistible pull on children.  I often find them giggling together over a picture book. Our humour section is very popular and draws pupils of all ages.  Funny stories are an invaluable teaching tool and can support our commitment to pupil well-being.

The physiological and psychological benefits of laughter are well-documented. One of the main physiological effects of laughing is the production of endorphins which promote a sense of well-being and help relieve stress.  Laughter can also help counteract feelings of anxiety or anger in children.  When we smile, levels of one of the body’s stress hormones, cortisol, are reduced.  All of these effects are very beneficial to a person’s mental health.  In an age where schools are paying increasing attention to the mental health and emotional well-being of their pupils, laughter is a powerful tool to utilise in the classroom – and what better way to do that than through funny books?

Finally, Avery recommends Meet the Oceans written by Caryl Hart and illustrated by Bethan Woollvin.

Avery’s reason for her choice: “I discovered this book during this term’s topic. It has a really important message about looking after our eco-system.”

Mrs Harvey also recommends this book as does the Book Trust. This story made the Great Books Guide for 2021: ‘Young children will love diving into this vibrant picture book and embarking on a captivating exploration of the world’s oceans’ (Book Trust 2021).

Each double-page spread focuses on a different body of water and highlights some of the creatures and plants that lie beneath the waves. Discover the undersea caves of the Atlantic Ocean, visit the busy shipping lanes of the South China Sea and marvel at the spectacular Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea, which is so vast it can be seen from space. From friendly beluga whales and giant jellyfish to tropical islands and enormous icebergs, there is so much to see on this exciting underwater adventure.

Colourful illustrations fill every page and a world map at the end pinpoints the location of each ocean. A medley of blues contrast with hues of pink, yellow, green and orange, to create a dynamic sub-aquatic world, bustling with fabulous detail. The rhyming text provides pace and rhythm and is wonderful to read aloud. Fun and informative, this marvellous book provides young readers with a lively introduction to the importance of looking after the oceans.

All of the books recommended by our librarians are available to borrow from our Grimsdell library.

Happy Reading!

Mrs Harvey