Yesterday we received a beautiful book to review on the Love Reading 4 Kids website, and I have reproduced the review here as I know many of my own readers have children in the age range this book will appeal to. It is particularly useful for folks whose kids are feeling a bit left out of the reading scene. Perhaps the books at school have turned them off, they are feeling demoralised because of dyslexia, or because they are not seeing books with people that look like them. If your kids have reading grumbles ‘The covers of my book are too far apart’ is a good starting point to get them thinking differently about reading.
This is a bright, wittily written and engagingly illustrated picture book. It would appeal to both young emergent readers and slightly older primary aged children, who may have decided that reading isn’t for them.
I felt that the Author, Vivian French MBE, really got to the heart of the various reasons children catch the idea that they don’t like to read. On each two-page spread there is a different ‘grumble’ such as “I can’t find a book I like”, followed by a diverse range of characters from an Anteater to a Superhero making useful comments and suggestions. The analogy that learning to read is like learning to ride a bike caused a lightbulb moment in both my children (aged 5 and 7).
The Illustrator, Nigel Baines, has delivered colourful images which support the reader in understanding the text, whether it is being read to them or they are reading it for themselves. Many picture books are actually produced in a way that makes them very difficult to read, but I was impressed that Picture Squirrels have broken the mould and employed a dyslexia friendly font on a pale tinted background which immensely improves legibility.
Representation is very obviously an important issue in this book, with anti-stereotypical images throughout, and people pointing out that there are hardly any characters in books that look like them. While this could feel a bit heavy handed, it is an important issue to acknowledge and the humour in the book lightens it.
Notes: We received the book free so that we could provide a review on the Love Reading 4 Kids website, which was created as a recommendation site to bring together kids (from littlies to teenagers) with great books and authors that they will really like. All opinions are my own, links are to the review site and to the Publisher. The book itself has just been released for sale this month (in the UK) and should be available through normal routes such as book shops and online retailers.