Good quality, locally published books are great for children wherever they are. Children need stories written in their own context. Stories about everyday life, like new siblings, family adventures and elephants growing on trees. These stories can be read and enjoyed by children all over the world, but they will be especially loved by local children.
A while back we took a trip into the City of Cape Town, for our favourite story time at the Book Lounge… and these are the books we read:
My Great Expedition
My Great Expedition by Justin Fox and Illustrated by Lucy Stuart-Clark: When I was extremely young, really very very young, my parents took a wandering trip through Europe, a grand tour so to speak. I was the youngest of a couple of siblings, and had my first birthday in Switzerland, wandered through German Christmas markets… a tour of Rome; Athens in the heart of summer; not to mention a visit to the Eiffel Tower, Loch Ness and the farm of Beatrix Potter. This trip somehow got into my blood and I have been traveling ever since. Decades later and Justin Fox has written a picture book of a similar adventure that he took in his childhood, the adventure of a lifetime that resulted in him growing up to be renowned travel journalist.
Travelling with kids inspires them to great things… if you live with a young and inspired traveler then this book will take them places. This is the story of Justin’s Grand Tour as a six year old, with his favourite soft toy, Liony. This book is richly illustrated, each spread is packed with things to look for and explore. Collage brings the whole book into three dimensional life, and the artist has made good use of family photographs and artifacts from their trip, make the whole book feel like a family scrapbook. We have to say, so well done to the illustrator, Lucy Stuart-Clark, who makes this book literary jump off the page.
We really enjoyed the story, Justin’s older siblings breeze in and out of the story, as older siblings do… the family relaxes and visits landmark cities and popular destinations on their journey through Europe. It is a fun and lively read, and the artwork is really engaging.
Elephants Don’t Grow on Trees
Elephants Don’t Grow on Trees by A.H. Benjamin illustrated by Adrie Le Roux: I am a firm believer in dreams, so is Mr Tusker, who is the hero of our story. Mr Tusker has longed for an elephant ever since his childhood, and beginning way back when he was always told that elephants don’t grow on trees.
Mr Tusker is desperate, and he searches all the likely spots: the Safari Park, the Circus,… everywhere he could think of. Everywhere he went he was told that elephants don’t grow on trees. Well twists and turns in the story and a little magic… and you might just discover that elephants do grow on some trees. And just in case you were wondering, elephants growing on trees might just cause a little trouble, so needless to say… Mr Tusker has to come up with a plan.
He does and everyone lives happily ever after. Lovely loose illustrations, and laugh out loud funnies throughout the book. A good story full of hope and a clear message not to give up on your dreams. This book has a nice touch… The author has requested that royalties from sales of Elephants don’t grow on Trees be donated to the Thula Thula Conservation Fund.
The Baby Brother Curse
The Baby Brother Curse Written by Michelle Sacks and Illustrated by Carla Kreuser: This is the story of a little girl, who gets some terrible news… she discovered that she was going to be a big sister. She is really concerned that the grownups in the world won’t have enough time for her, and that her little brother is going to eat all the biscuits. She panics that he is going to all those terrible little sibling things and her life is going to become a disaster. As her mum’s tummy grew bigger and bigger so do her worries. And once her little brother is actually born, the little girl, Boo, decided that she is not nearly so unlucky after all. This story assumes that little kids think the same way that small children do… and little Boo worries about things that parents expecting child number two or three worry about… will they have enough time, resources, loving arms… to go around. The book is a little tongue in cheek, the illustrations perfectly illustrate the grand tragedy of little Boo’s impending disaster. Funnier than the story, my kids who always looked froward to a little sibling, did not think the story was even slightly amusing… until I explained the behind the scenes story. All’s well that ends well… and Boo and her little brother I am sure will go onto many happy adventures together, despite her parents misgivings.
Thank you so much to Bumble Books South Africa for giving us these books for review purposes, this is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are as usual entirely our own.