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All reviews tagged with Vita Coleman

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ABC Mindful Me

Following on from ABC Yoga, Christine Engle has created an introduction to mindfulness for 3-6 year-olds. This colourful board book provides a lively introduction to emotional regulation and self-care. The text comprises of a series of short rhymes, structured around the alphabet. In some places the structure and verse flow fluently, and in some places…

Arnica, the Duck Princess

This offbeat folktale opens as Arnica, a kind and lovely princess, falls in love with the footloose Poor Johnny. Fortunately, Arnica’s dad is the modern sort of king, and agrees to their marriage on condition that they take some time to think about it first: Poor Johnny must wander, and Arnica must wait. Enter a…

Bum Bum

There are few things that give pre-schoolers more glee than transgressions in the form of toilet-humour. They will not be disappointed here. Miura does not attempt to dress up his premise with a clever narrative or sophisticated artwork. The text is Spartan and the digital artwork is clear, bold and basic. There is no gesture…

Cool Kids Cook

I love this book. Simple, modern recipes are complemented with witty yet instructional illustration and gorgeous, fun photos featuring a diverse cast of kids enjoying themselves. Jenny Chandler is a cookery teacher in Leiths, among other prestigious schools, and it shows. This is no coffee-table book. There is no sense of worthiness here and absolutely…

Famous Paintings (My Very First Art)

Sturdy and spiral-bound, this is a book designed to stand up to heavy handling. Perfect for a rainy day, it is sure to be reached for again and again. Painting techniques are introduced in two-page spreads considering examples, providing context and suggesting simple and fun activities to engage children. Using a mixture of portrait and…

GRRRRR!

Snappy dialogue and rhythmic rhyme propel us through this witty tale of competition, thievery and redemption. Fred is an achievement-driven workaholic and Boris is a lonely bear who makes poor choices. They complete to be the Best Bear in the Wood, discovering along the way that true happiness is to be found in relationships rather…

Hat Tricks

A hat is presented and out of it comes an entire world. First arrives our magician, Hattie, in a smart yellow jacket and dickie-bow. Following on from Hattie is an assortment of animals and, eventually, their habitat. Opening with the question ‘What is this?’, Hat Tricks invites dialogic reading and provokes prediction from the start…

I Have an Idea!

In I have an Idea, we stop and consider the idea of an idea. In his quest to make this intangible thing tangible, Tullet takes a Cubist approach – looking sideways at the concept from all sorts of angles. We consider the feeling we get when we have an idea, the process we go through…

Jabari Jumps

Jabari has passed his swimming test, and says he is ready to jump off the diving board in his local pool. In this wonderful portrait of a father/son relationship, we see the gentle guidance of a loving father helping a young child to recognise and process feelings of fear and excitement. This kind of emotional…

Joy

A little girl called Fern grows concerned after noticing that her beloved Nanna has stopped smiling. What could be the matter? Fern’s mum explains that the ‘whoosh’ of joy has gone out of Nanna’s life. Fern sets off to capture this elusive whoosh and cheer her Nanna back up. Fern’s search for joy is beautifully…

Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse

A bibliophilic mouse flees persecution in late nineteenth century Germany by means of an ingenious invention. This nostalgic tale of adventure, invention and perseverance feels cinematic in tone. Illustrations lead the way underscored by the text. Although the words are sparing, this book is definitely not for the under-fives. There is darkness here.  Menace is handled deftly; Kulhman…

Megalopolis: And the Visitor from Outer Space

An alien lands, explores the city, has a party, (almost) dies, is resurrected at its funeral by a mermaid and lives happily ever after . Megalopolis is not your average picturebook. A vertical book, it unfolds downwards to over 3 meters in length of gorgeous heavy card. This isn’t a bedtime story, it sits somewhere…

Mirror Play: What am I?

Mirror Play is an invitation to engage. Each page has an abstract rotating shape. When combined with the mirror and rotated, these shapes transform into frogs, pandas, planes and more. Initially this seems like a simple book – there is no narrative to speak of, the illustrative style is bold and clear with lots of…

Ocean: A Visual Miscellany

This strikingly visual, impressively holistic consideration of the oceans incorporates science, history, mythology and geography alongside experiments, crafts and witty asides. The content is carefully paced, never overwhelming with facts and skilfully balancing informative sections with open ended questions and activities. Originally published in Portugal by the innovative Pato Lógico, there is a seriously artful…

Quill Soup

Collected and retold by Alan Durant, Quill Soup is a South African variant of the folk tale known in Europe as ‘Stone Soup’. Noko the porcupine arrives to a new village with an empty stomach looking for food. The villagers pretend they have none so as not to have to share with this stranger. Noko…

Saint Brigid The Fearless

St Brigid’s story is brought to life in the latest addition to Poolbeg’s ‘In a nutshell’ series, aimed at readers aged 6 and above. Preceded by a map of Ireland and followed by instructions for making your own cross and a pronunciation guide; this is definitely a teaching book. Between these sections, there is a…

Shapes Colours Numbers

Shapes Colours Numbers is a silent, ritualistic, revelatory book. Created by Dario Zeruto, a Cuban artist trained in mechanical engineering, the book-object plays with the very idea of its materiality. With great ceremony we open the book; first we remove the sleeve, then open a page right-left, which reveals the sole sentence of the book…

Tales from the Inner City

In this new collection of 25 short stories, Shaun Tan explores the relationships between animals and humans in the city. It’s deep, dark stuff filled with revelatory truths. In a story about a pig, we are confronted with the reality of our diet. In a story about a sheep we encounter the hopelessness of individual…

The Holidays

Rich in visual symbolism and told without words, The Holidays is a shifting fever-dream of a book. An independent young girl is spending the summer with her grandfather, happily exploring meadows and forests alone in a nostalgic rural idyll. One day, her grandfather introduces an unexpected and very different guest, in the shape of a…

There’s a Bug on my Arm that Won’t Let Go

A tale of acceptance and letting go, this is the story of a girl and a bug told in the first person. A child is bored and has nobody to play with. An insect lands on her arm and she moves from panic, to annoyance, to acceptance until finally it is time for the bug…

There’s a Dinosaur on the 13th Floor

A sleepy musician arrives in Hotel Sharemore in search of a bed for the night and gets more than he bargained for. This delightfully old-timey story centres on the absurdist joy of watching our dickie-bowed, pyjamaed hero continually frustrated on his quest for a good night’s sleep. Language is simple and direct, with a good…

Very Little Red Riding Hood

When a very little girl goes to stay overnight with her grandmama, she brings an unusual friend to play in this charming twist-in-the tale of red riding hood. Teresa Heaply cunningly manipulates the time-honoured tale into something new: a story about acknowledging emotions rather than ignoring them. No lumber-jack needed.  Very Little is a wonderful…

Welcome: a Mo Willems guide for new arrivals

Billed as a guide for new babies, Welcome is really a love letter to storytime. There is something for everyone inside: for babies there’s a mirror page, clear illustrations and lots of repetition; for adults there’s complex humour and lots of feelings; for older siblings there’s a poo joke. It’s this sort of family reading,…

Where is Pim?

Where is Pim? Last seen flying above Pom’s head, the much-loved Pim has vanished. Pom sets out to investigate with the help of a dog. This sequel to 2014’s Pom and Pim retains the same measured pacing, clear language and distinctive illustrative style.   The character of Pom captures the essence of 1-2 year olds.…

Why is art full of naked people?

This is a book about questions, most of which are explored as comprehensively as one would expect in a primer. The question in the title, however, is more or less dismissed. Hodge introduces a huge variety of artistic styles and concepts, skilfully and engagingly. There is a diverse cast of artists and critical thinking is…


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