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Library News

This week, the Junior Librarians, Lucinda from Owl class, and Alexia from Eagle Class, share with us one of their favourite reads.

Firstly, Lucinda recommends You’re Snug With Me, written by Chirtra Soundar and illustrated by Poonam Mistry.

Lucinda’s reason for her choice: “I chose this book because it links to our topic Ice Worlds, and I liked the wonderful illustrations. I enjoyed my daddy reading this story to me at home.”

Mrs Harvey supports Lucinda’s choice. This beautifully told and illustrated story has an important ecological theme, introducing the incredible array of animals living in the polar lands and suggesting their interdependency and the fragility of their habitat. It highlights our responsibility to look after these creatures and our precious world only taking from it what we need. This message is reiterated in the author’s letter to the reader at the end of the book.

As winter approaches, a polar bear snuggles inside the den she has made in the snowdrifts and waits for her two cubs to be born. When they arrive, they are curious about what lies outside their cosy home.

Mama tells them about the snow and ice, the vast oceans and the creatures who share their frozen world, such as arctic foxes, snowshoe hares and terns. The little bears are overwhelmed and anxious, so throughout the tale, Mama gently reassures them, soothing away their worries with the calming words, ‘hush now, you’re snug with me.’ The story reads like a lullaby with the reassuring refrain to the nervous cubs preparing to leave their cosy den as the seasons pass.

Inquisitive children will enjoy learning about the polar landscape and are sure to share the cubs’ wonder as they take their first tentative steps outside their den, slipping and stumbling in the glittering, icy snow.

As well as exploring the nurturing relationship between a mother and her cubs, this unusual and thought-provoking picture book gently reminds readers to respect and care for the environment. The lyrical text is enhanced by stylish illustrations in warm creams and cool blues, beautifully evoking the atmosphere of the frozen north.

The illustrations throughout the story are stunning. Each page is made up of repeating patterns, forming both the animals in the foreground and the whole of the wintry setting making up the background. Illustrator Poonam Mistry uses colour selectively and carefully: all of the illustrations are made up of yellows, oranges, blues and greens and as spring approaches, the pages become brighter. Different snowflakes feature on almost every page and the illustrations throughout the book have a magical quality.

Our second Book of the Week also holds an important message – emphasising one of the central tenets of The Grimsdell Way – treating others as we would like to be treated. Alexia has chosen Little Rabbit Foo Foo, a timeless classic by the renowned Michael Rosen.

Alexia tells us: “This is a funny story but it also has a really important message.”

Alexia’s choice is written by the indomitable Michael Rosen, author of the infamous We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Michael Rosen is one of Britain’s best loved writers and performance poets for children and adults. His first degree in English Literature and Language was from Wadham College, Oxford and he went on to study for an MA at the University of Reading and a PhD at the former University of North London, now London Metropolitan. He is currently Professor of Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London where he co-devised and teaches critical approaches to reading on an MA in Children’s Literature, having done the same at Birkbeck, University of London. He has taught on MA courses in universities since 1994. He was the Children’s Laureate from 2007-2009 and has published over 200 books for children and adults.

Little Rabbit Foo Foo is a cautionary tale about a mischievous rabbit who, despite three warnings from the Good Fairy, continues being a nuisance to the other animals. The repetitive nature of sentences within the story serves to support the development of children’s early language skills. Picture books with repetitive, predictable texts are one of the most enjoyable and effective tools for teaching young children early language skills. Young children love being able to anticipate and chime in with repeated texts.

In addition, books that repeat themselves actually help capture a child’s attention during reading. When a child has less to think about, there are more cognitive opportunities for them to use and think about language. The predictable nature of these stories just requires less cognitive ability from them; essentially it decreases their cognitive load. When children have less to think about, then they can focus more on what’s happening during the story! Hence, this gives an opportunity for developing their comprehension skills.

Author of the Week

So many of our Grimsdell children enjoy making, creating and writing their own books (often collaborating with each other) which clearly demonstrates the positive impact that our Reading for Pleasure initiative has on the curriculum. I am always delighted to read the draft pages of a book, offering advice and encouragement, and witnessing the different stages of the writing process. This week, I am so pleased to share with you the latest addition to our Grimsdell Library. Inspired by this term’s topic, Eva from Starlings class has written and illustrated the most

charming non-fiction text The Penguins in Antarctica. The book shows evidence of solid research and is beautifully presented. Congratulations, Eva!

Happy Reading!

Mrs Harvey