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  • Louise Ellis-Barrett

Books, a Recollection


As well as being the very happy recipient of a daily pile of books, I love it when I reach out to the publicity department at a publishing house in order to request a book that has caught my eye, and they tell me no, they won’t send it to me at that moment because … they are saving it up to send me a lovely big parcel of goodies. This means that not only do I get lots of books in one parcel but also that I am never going to know what they are sending!

This very instance happened just this week – well, a few weeks ago was when it began. I got in touch with Paul at GMC Distribution to request a book and on his asking whether I could possibly wait until his parcel of goodies was ready for me, I have just opened a great and varied selection which looks a little like this –

Where do I start?! In no particular order , engage with my short write-ups and hopefully find some inspiration for your library or children’s bookcases (or maybe even your own)…

Marigold & Daisy are snail sisters. Marigold loves her life and is quick to answer anyone who asks that she is indeed very happy. She really is, too - until Daisy is born. Suddenly the focus is on Daisy – her cute shell, her cute poops - what is a sister snail to do? For Marigold, the answer is not easy. Having decided that Daisy is an evil super genius, she then finds Daisy latches on to her and won’t let go. Trying to get away will help … won’t it? A delightful picture book about tolerance and understanding with pictures that are at once simple and evocative, Andrea Zuill is a talent to look out for.

Laura Sassi and Rebecca Gerlings have combined their skills with words and pictures to bring us the glittery pink Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse. Glittery and pink the cover may be, but do not let yourself be deceived. This is a seriously funny story about a talented seal, one who is so confident in her talent that she will listen to no-one and take no advice. Will all go as well as she expects? As all too soon Delores learns, there are times when it is necessary to listen to others. Is it too late or will this diva sing for her adoring audience?

On the subject of self-adoration and with a very modern approach may I introduce you to Selfie Sebastian. Most of the readers of this book will not be old enough to own their own phone and take their own selfies, but that won’t stop them from understanding what's going on! Laugh out loud at the antics of Sebastian and find out just how to take the most perfect picture … The story is written by Sarah Glen Marsh and the illustrations are by Florence Weiser, combined to make a vibrant and very funny story to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

We might think of Lama’s as animals who munch grass, occasionally take people for a ride and may be related, distantly, to the camel - but did you know that they are also very curious creatures who like to bump, twirl, whirl and jump, particularly when there is a new couch just sitting in their field? Add to this image a family who love to use their couch for sitting, playing, jumping climbing and more … Now, you probably think you can guess what happens in this book, but I strongly recommend reading for it is full of lovely surprises! Leah Gilbert accompanies her text for A Couch for Llama with some lively, bold, bright illustration.

Spiders. They have eight legs. We all know that. Frank however appears to only have seven! He starts off with eight and enjoys weaving his webs, scaring humans and more besides. When one leg goes missing however, he is on a mission to find it. Follow his adventurous quest to locate his missing leg and learn something funny in the process. A simple but effective book, Frank the Seven-Legged Spider, which may make you more scared or perhaps more sympathetic … written and illustrated by Michaele Razi.

That is nature for you – it gives you eight legs, takes ones away and expects that you will continue as if nothing had happened - and you will, you will learn how to. Learning is the subject of my next title – My First Book of Quantum Physics. Sheddad Kaid-Salah Ferron and Eduard Altarriba show us how to approach the complex and at times (for me at least) mind-boggling world of science, specifically quantum physics. If like me you need the book to first explain what the title refers to, it is the science of subatomic particles, those minute particles that give us electronics for starters! It is with us every day, but I am not alone in not understanding it. The authors of this book are attempting to change this with their graphic, simple and effective introduction. Give it a go – it helped me - and I am sure it will help you too.

On the subject of nature, Up in the Leaves by Shira Boss and illustrated by James Christoph tells the true story of the Central Park treehouses. Learn how they came to be, how they are used and how important they are in this charming retelling whilst discovering how to find peace in the hustle and bustle of a busy city and an even busier world.

Another true story, Gloria’s Voice brings readers the story of Gloria Steinem, feminist, activist and leader. Almost certainly a book with content that will appeal to an older reader but with a simple text and effective illustration to draw in a younger reader also - this is a book for all ages with an important message. Learn how our world was changed by women who took the opportunity to use their voice. Discover who Gloria Steinem was, how she was able to make a difference and create an opportunity for others, providing inspiration that continues today and needs to into the future.

Having found such peace, perhaps it is time for a rest? Time for bed even? Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night by Dee Leone and illustrated by Bali Engel could be the perfect story for finding the peace and quiet needed for a good nights’ sleep. Its dark blue pages, muted colour illustrations and gentle story will lull even the most awake child into a gentle and peaceful sleep, lyrical and gentle this is the ideal bedtime read.

#AndreaZuill #GMC #LauraSassi #RebeccaGerlings #SarahGlenMarsh #FlorenceWeiser #LeahGilbert #MichealeRazi #SheddadKaidSalahFerron #EduardAltarriba #ShiraBoss #JamesChristoph #DeeLeone #BaliEngel

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