We were recently sent two new books for review by the lovely team at Gecko Press, and both have been read to Tiny every night since. No exaggeration: every night and a thousand times each day too. Poor Pickle has had to be content with stealing a look when his brother’s at kindy.
Eat Up, Little Donkey, written by Rindert Kromhout and illustrated by Annemarie van Haeringen, is a lovely little story about Little Donkey’s refusal to eat his lunch, and the consequences that follow. The illustrations are simple but very sweet, as are the words and message.
The pages are gloriously thick but it still feel like a bigger kid’s book; Pickle has had a good play and enjoys the act of turning these pages immensely. He’s simply not interested in board books anymore.
The story is aimed at toddlers, but Tiny, at three-and-a-half, absolutely loves it. He knows the consequences of not eating meals, thus the story appeals to him on many levels. After just one read-through, he was flicking through, re-telling the story; the language is at the perfect level for him to repeat word-for-word.
When I asked what he liked about this story, he grinned and said, “I like that Little Donkey wants to throw his plate like a plane!”
Toucan Can, written by Juliette MacIver and illustrated by Sarah Davis, is such a fun story! It’s great fun to read, with tongue-twisting lines that make us giggle every time. The illustrations are as hilarious as the rhyme, and there’s a cute craziness about it which appeals to adults and kids alike.
The illustrations are stunning; each page is a feast for the eyes. The kung fu pages are my absolute favourites, while Tiny likes Aunt Samantha’s panthers. There is so much to look at, and we find something new at each reading; I look a book that feels fresh with every turn of the page.
In the earnest way of a pre-schooler, Tiny nods along and tries to do everything Toucan can; watching him dance in his bed with Toucan, Ewan and the aunts is pretty cute. This is a delightful, energetic and hilarious read, and has become a firm favourite in a short space of time.
I’ve recently finished yet another Haruki Murakami novel: Norwegian Wood. Having been confused and intrigued by the others of his that I’ve read, I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much because I was constantly (a) waiting for it to turn all tricksy, and (b) wondering if I’d missed some vital chapter or line which took the story into his usual metaphysical realm. It was an ordinary story, comparatively – by design, according to the note at the back of the novel; Murakami sought to “test” himself by writing a straight, simple story – but still colourful and a bit far-fetched at times. It had some rather graphic sexual passages which I didn’t really like (I’m no prude, but found this a bit much), and the characters were still most definitely Murakami-characters in that they were quite unusual. The narrator is supposed to be an 18- to 20-year-old university student, but he is written well beyond these young years.
I’m also reading War of the Worlds on my phone while I sit beside Pickle’s cot, helping him get to sleep of an evening. I’m really enjoying it – more than I thought I would, actually.