A joyful picture book celebrating how differences enrich our world, this is a story told with a kindly understanding that will reassure and guide young children.
”It takes all sorts” my Mum used to say to me occasionally. She was right, then she often was. However for some people all sorts may mean something subtly different. Frankie loves to sort things, almost everything in her little world is put into categories. She sorts her toys in her bedroom, she sorts everything in the kitchen, she tries to sort flowers, trees and animals. Some things are easier to sort than others and Frankie adopts different systems to classify items, using colour, shape and size to help her. Then she decides to sort people and things become a little trickier. In fact it dawns on Frankie that it may not be possible which is a worry, particularly as she does not know where she fits in.
This is such a lovely package of a book. The story really starts with the cover as little Frankie stands beside a chaotic heap of things, a colourful muddle of familiar objects. On the back cover these objects have now been sorted into neat rows; a procession of vehicles, a line of colouring pencils, a row of stripy socks and so on. The busy endpapers continue this theme with those at the front of the book a glorious, colourful tangle of items recognisable to children. The endpapers at the back of the book depict regimental rows marching across the white space.
Frankie is a competent sorter, methodical in her approach and yet when she comes to look at the people in her world and sorting them her composure slips. Some people clearly belong to each other but with some it is less obvious. As this recognition dawns on the little girl the narrative switches to give her own version of events making her concern more apparent to the reader. Swiftly this concern turns to excitement as Frankie realises that having a world where differences don’t matter and everyone simply lives together in a glorious muddle is absolutely fine.
I particularly like how this book incorporates its message in a subtle and gentle way, just right for the youngest readers. The illustrations by Emily Rand are a total delight; colourful and full of detail they will encourage slow browsing and chat about all those familiar objects. This would reassure the anxious child for whom untidiness or lack of order prompts stress or a child who is struggling to fit in for whatever reason. In addition it would work as an introduction to mathematical concepts; Frankie’s people sorting even involves a Venn diagram!
This is a delightful book with a variety of uses and one that will appeal to the youngest of readers with its cheerful appearance and gentle, comforting themes. Highly recommended for Early Years and KS1.
Thank you to the lovely team at Flying Eye Books for my review copy. All Sorts was published on 1st September and is available to purchase at all good bookshops or online