Sometimes by happy coincidence books arrive together that complement each other, sharing similar ideas or themes or characters with comparable personalities. Two picture books published recently caught my eye as they both concentrate on an aspect of life that matters to both adults and children. Time. The lack of it or the speed with which it seems to rush us though life, the difficulties in being on time for things or feeling that time rushes by without us noticing what is important. These everyday but important feelings are dealt with cleverly in the two picture books I review below.
Stop the Clock! by Pippa Goodhart illustrated by Maria Christania
Inspired by the first lockdown in Spring 2020 this thought provoking book encourages us to take our time and notice the details around us. Those little things that in reality are the things we should cherish.
Joe’s day has not got off to the best start. A typical school morning of “hurrying, worrying and scurrying,” it is a scenario familiar to many. Despite Mum’s best efforts Joe is late for school, he’s in such a rush he doesn’t notice his little sister is crying. In the classroom there is not enough time for Joe to finish the picture he is taking such care over. Then Joe stops the clock! Now he can see things more clearly, he notices what is happening around him and by slowing things down Joe appreciates his world more.
Stop the Clock is cleverly created with the text and illustrations working together to convey the story’s important message. At first Joe stands out as a colourful character on the page surrounded by the grey blur of his life. When Joe take control and stops the clock he fades in importance in the pictures as the world around him comes into colourful focus. Each page is full of detail for children to explore and talk about. There are stories within the story. Where are those people on the bus going? There are people moving house, a baby posting a letter, a beggar holding a friendly dog. All of them can be elaborated upon and discussed. Pippa Goodhart invites the reader to look at the clues hidden in the buildings to work out who lives there and the many windows provide tantalising glimpses of life within.
This is a lovely picture book that highlights the importance of those little moments we share with people every day. Special moments shared not only with our families and school friends, but with our neighbours and those in our communities. A kind and thoughtful message for us all.
I should like to thank the publisher for my review copy. Stop the Clock by Pippa Goodhart and Maria Christania was published on 3rd February by Tiny Owl Publishing and can be purchased online at Bookshop.
Ready! Said Rabbit by Marjoke Henrichs
Marjoke Henrichs’ debut, No! Said Rabbit was shortlisted for the BookTrust Storytime Prize and her follow up, Ready! Said Rabbit is another picture book that is a joy to share. Humour and drama are used to convey the concept of time to young readers. The readily identifiable situation ensures that both adults and young children will enjoy this light hearted look at family life.
Dad and little Rabbit are getting ready for an afternoon trip to the park. This is not a straight forward process. Rabbit wants to take rather a lot of things with him; different toys to play with for every possibility are gathered together and he finally decides he is ready. Dad does not agree as Rabbit is not dressed suitably. This made me smile in recognition and when Rabbit tries again he takes several attempts to get it right. So the preparations continue; the right toy, the right snacks, the right outfit, it all takes time. Finally ready they are about to leave when…the phone rings, Dad has lost his keys and so the cycle continues. Will father and son ever get to the park?
There is a happy ending thank goodness but I know both adults and children will empathise with our characters’ woes. This would be a lovely picture book to prompt talk about patience and understanding in addition to learning how to get ready on time with concentration and care. It is a lovely celebration of a father and child relationship too. The bright and cheerful illustrations contain lots of familiar items to chat about and this would be a great book to share both at home and in Early Years settings.
I should like to thank the publisher for my review copy. Ready! Said Rabbit by Marjoke Henrichs is published this month by Scallywag Press and is available to purchase online at Bookshop.
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