We…the boys and me..have been bitten by the Julia Donaldson bug. We already had The Gruffalo and Cave Baby by Julia Donaldson and more recently courtesy a present and a trip to the bookstore, we acquired Room on the Broom, The Smartest Giant iN Town, Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose and Hippo Has a Hat. All of them are delightful in their own way.
Room on the Broom and the Smartest giant book are by an illustrator that the kids are already familiar with – Axel Scheffler who has illustrated Cave Baby and Gruffalo. Both these books are simply wonderful. What I find interesting in terms of the story is the manner in which A Giant and a Witch have been portrayed in very non-conventional terms…typically attributed fairly scary and negative qualities, they have been treated very differently in Donaldson’s stories and both the witch and the giant are friendly, approachable, social creatures! The rhymes are lovely and help the kids pitch in and finish the sentences that i start to read.
Room on the broom is a beautiful narrative of a witch and a cat on a broom who are helped by different creatures who one by one join them on their broom…and of course, the broom breaks! There is humor too with a dragon who would like to have “witch and chips ” and the illustrations say so much! The end pages are great as a start to a conversation about the book…they have an image of flying leaves and a hat…which leads into the story creatively!
The Smartest Giant in Town also has a really nice story line as well as themes of empathy, generosity and sharing which run through the text. George, the scruffiest giant in town longs to be smart and so he goes out and buys a bunch of new clothes…a smart shirt, trousers, a tie, socks, shoes and a belt. He leaves behind his scruffy old clothes and sets out only to meet other animals who seem to be in need. George generously gives away everything he has bought and once again the narrative has lovely rhyme as well as great illustrations that add to the story. The illustrator has put in other fairy tale characters like the princess and the frog into the illustrations and so there is a lot of conversation around the text that one can engage in with kids.
Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose and Hippo has a Hat are great for simple rhymes and have stunning illustrations that allow for some prediction during the reading.
We are totally enjoying our Julia Donaldon phase and we plan to get a few more soon!!!