ISSUE 10 Supplement

VERY Young learners

November 2001                                       distributed free                download Issues from

25 Picture Books

For Nurseries or Home Learning



REALBOOK NEWS aims to help adults select suitable picture books (fiction and non-fiction) for  young children beginning to learning English as a foreign language or additional language.



·      Recommends suitable books

·      Includes a FEATURE ARTICLE on matters relevant to REAL picture BOOKS.

·      Selects books from any publisher - big or small

·      Selects books that YLs can or will soon be able to read

·      Prints a Book List of all fiction and non-fiction books introduced in back Issues.





REALBOOK NEWS  -   Feature Articles


Issue 3      Selecting REALBOOKS      - a skilled task?

Issue 4      Mini Treasures or Big Books - which shall I use?

- which shall I buy?

Issue 5      Shall I ask questions when I read a story?

Issue 6      Reading pictures as well as text - developing visual literacy

Issue 7      Reading in a foreign language

Issue 8      Which - Reading or Telling a story?

Issue 9      Emotional Literacy - reading about feelings

Issue 10    Books - from presentation to browsing (child-led play)

  - an important step?


From the Editor     -    Opal Dunn



This special supplement aims to help the growing number of Nursery or Pre-schools wanting to change  from being home-language schools to becoming schools that also introduce some English. Bilingual English Nursery Schools give children interactive opportunities in which they can hear and absorb English at sometime during their daily or weekly programme. English maybe introduced by the classroom teacher, who in some cases has been specially trained in English, or by a native speaker who may or may not be a specialist in early childhood education.


Where early language learning is based on activities it is easier for children to pick-up English in the same type of activity they have already experienced in their home-language. Like this, they have only to understand the new language - English - as they already understand the activity concept.


Fairly early on in any programme children need to pick-up survival language and classroom management phrases if the activities are to take place only in English. It is surprising how quickly very young children understand the meaning of these words and phrases if they hear them regularly. Later after some internal learning has taken place, they begin to use them spontaneously, for example greeting people who speak English with self-confidence and pride.


Very YL's are still learning their own language and so use their language learning skills daily to learn their home-language. They soon understand that they can transfer some of these home-language learning skills to learning English. They are quick to pick-up words and simple blocks of language (phrases) which, as in their home- language, they have no idea of how many words they comprise.


Listening to a REALBOOK story in English is just another natural language learning experience to them. Children who have books read to them regularly in their home-language know how to get meaning from them and how to join in with the story. Most adults read books in the same sort of way in English and children soon realise they can transfer their language-learning skills to the English book.


Finding books with suitable simple text for this age is difficult as much text is written with the native-speaker adult in mind assuming that she will act as the mediator explaining the text to the child. The selection does not include the well-known favourites like Spot, Maisy and Dick Bruna books. as these popular series are readily available outside the UK. The Nursery or Pre-School selection is divided into two sections of books:


Starters       Books for children with very little spoken English with minimal text, the story being carried in the pictures.      

Talkers        Books for children who know some rhymes and games and use some English within the classroom.


Some books may be better without any teacher-led follow-up activity, others may be better with a quick activity. Some activities may be suggested by the children and, if this is the case, follow the children's interests being careful not to over-load as this could produce some negative feelings. If possible give children opportunities to browse through the books when they want and for as long as they want, as this opportunity will help to consolidate the book experience. Also try to involve the parents by letting children borrow books overnight. Many parents love REALpictureBOOKS and would like to share them with their children. Learning for young children is best when it is a shared experience between the school, the home and the child.



Book Selection

·       Story Books

Hello Ducks!             Author-Illustrator Angie Sage                    Starters

Hodder Children's Books     Paperback         ISBN 0-340-77342-1     £3.99

An excellent first story book for very young beginners. The language consists of Bye Bye + noun and Hello + noun and the constant repetition makes it easy to pick-up especially if children are used to using these phrases before you introduce the book. The story is carried in the narrative pictures that take an impish Toddler on a day's experiences. You might think the illustrations are a little babyish but children are always happy to re-confirm what may have been or still is part of their life.

Bye bye bricks as he knocks them over. Hello Ted. Bye Bye Ted as he drops Ted to welcome Gran! Hello Gran!

An easy story to transfer into life at school. You can use photos and make it into a wall story or a class book. Parents might like to make their own family books using photos taken on holiday or at home. If you can't include the humour, don't worry; children can get sufficient stimulation from photos of familiar scenes. Remember to put copies of books in The Book or English Corner as children love to pore over their own and other children's photos and talk about them, too!


Hello, Goodbye  Published by Walker Books (Issue 7) is a more advanced story, which could be useful later as a follow on to this book.


I'm a car                  Author Barry Cunningham Illus Woody         Starters

Bloomsbury children's Books       Novelty/Paperback ISBN 0-7475-3799-2  £3.99

A unique story dealing with the child's imaginary world. Let's pretend. Some children have difficulty in letting them selves go and play in an imaginary way. This book may spark something off especially if you set the scene in a follow up.


Strawberries are red    Author-Illus Epetr Horacek                        Starters

Walker Books           Boardbook/Novelty      ISBN 10-7445-7576-4   £2.99

A novelty book with shaped pages and holes.

Great for teaching colours as colour names are more easily remembered when they are related to something.. Red strawberries, Orange oranges, Yellow bananas, Green apples, Blue berries, Purple grapes and put them all together in my fruit bowl and Look at all the colours in my fruit salad. Follow it up by making fruit salad at school and then taking a spoon and eating it.


What is black and white?     Author-Illus Petr Horacek                  Starters

Walker Books           Novelty/Boardbook       ISBN 0-7445-7577-X   £2.99

A Flip-Flap Book

A book that makes one conscious of how much black and white is around. Contrasting black and white The night is black. The snow is white.  The cat is black, The milk is white. The comparisons continue on smaller and smaller pages, which are cut cleverly to add, each time you turn a page, another black stripe to another white stripe. The last of the 7 spreads is an animal that combines the black and white stripes on the left to a stripy face looking at the reader. The zebra is black and white. A cleverly design book with easy to read text which children will enjoy poring over.

What's There?                  Author-Illus Melanie Walsh                Starters

Walker Books           Novelty/Boardbook      ISBN 0-7445-8126-5     £2.99

A Lift-the-Flap-Book

What's behind the door? Lift the cat flap on door number 14 and there's the cat. And this is confirmed by the words the cat on the back of the flap. The story continues with What's inside the dustbin? Lift the lid and there's a mouse. There are 11 What questions in this simple clear text which gives natural and amusing practise in prepositions of place as well as introducing names for things that are in our environment. The easy text is soon picked up by the children and can be transferred to use in the classroom even if there aren't any flaps to lift up!


Peekaboo Friends!      Author-Illustrator Lucy Su                        Starters

Frances Lincoln         Novelty/Paperback      ISBN 0-7112-1763-7     £6.99

A Lift-the-Flap-Book

A little boy, Robbie, is looking for his friends - his cuddly toys. First he looks behind one of his boots Peekaboo  - it's  giraffe! Then Robbie and Giraffe are looking for their friends. Behind a book they find Penguin. Then the three of them continue to look and they find Puppy. And so the story goes on identifying animals hidden under a mat, in a basket whilst a ginger kitten watches them as they progress from room to room. Robbie and the six animals then hide from the ginger kitten . Kitten looks very surprised to be all alone and Kitten is looking for everyone.   Lift -up the final flap and Peekaboo - we're here! And there they are under the duvet. Much of the story is carried in the charmingly soft illustrations that take you round a house. The repetitive phrases in the present continuous that add one more animal on each spread is easy for children to pick-up. Why not let them bring in their cuddly animals to school, and after identifying them, play an adaptation of Peekaboo.


Who are you?            Author Stella Blackstone Illus Debbie Harter  Starters

Barefoot Beginners     Paperback                ISBN 1-901223-66-3     £3.99

The book begins with the question Who are you? and the picture of a curly tail leaves the children to guess. As they turn the page they see a picture of a cat on the left I'm a cat. On the right page the same question is asked  Who are you? as enough of another animal is shown to enable the child to make a another guess. The book continues asking the child to guess animals that rhyme like whale and snail, bear and hare, dog and frog until the final question Who are you? and a young child replies You know who? Add on I'm + name of a child in your class. This is a  more realistic way for children to tell people their name than my name is …  Most people say  I'm + name when they introduce themselves!


Going Shopping          Author-Illustrator Sarah Garland                Starters

Puffin                     Paperback                ISBN 0-14-0554400-9   £4.99

These popular books have been favourites with Nursery schools for years. The detailed, realistic drawings carry the story of mother, little girl, baby and the dog on their eventful shopping adventures.

The minimal text in spoken language comprises of the sort of phrases any mother would say in similar circumstances. In you go. Jump in. dog! Down the road and off to the shop. Out of the car and into the shop. Shopping, shopping, shopping and back to the car. In you go and home again. Children soon pick-up the language. Some will recognise the feelings of everyone as they all get home with a load of shopping exhausted.


Coming to Tea           Author-Illustrator Sarah Garland                Starters

Puffin                     Paperback                ISBN 0-14-055399-1     £4.99

A good follow-on to Going Shopping in which the same family invites the family next door to tea in the garden .Are you ready next door? Coming, coming! Just a minute!

Tea's ready! Mmm ….. delicious…    But oh dear it rains! Quick, come in! Then after a rest inside it's time to go home. Full of useful phrases that can be used in other situations.

Ready, Steady, Go!      Author Shigeo Watanabe Illus Yasuo Ohtomo Starters

Red Fox                   Paperback                ISBN 0-09-916351-9     £3.99

Do you have a sport's day at school? Little Bear takes part in an obstacle race and Ready, Steady, Go! Across the beam. Ow! Oh dear he fell, but never mind, on he goes. Round the bar. And Thump! He fell again Over the box. Through the tunnel . Under the net. Nearly there. And then at the finishing line he asks Did I win? The simple text is easily understood through the supportive clear realistic illustrations. This sensitive story shows the authors understanding of very young children's natural behaviour. This is a natural way to learn some prepositions of place. Even better if you confirm them by making your own obstacle race in the playground using some of the same language but simpler apparatus like a rope for under, a hoop for through and a table to climb over but take care the children don't fall.


Whose Baby Am I?     Author-Illus John Butler                           Starters

Puffin                     Paperback                ISBN 0-1-056775-5      £4.99

This book introduces 9 different wild-life animals and their babies. In a question and answer form children are asked Whose baby am I? To find out the answer they have to turn the page I am elephant's baby. The superb illustrations of the animals on a plain background delight children. Before you begin make sure the children know the names of the animals. Like this they will soon pick-up the text and use the possessive with an apostrophe quite naturally. As the children get to know the text, let one half of the class ask the question, the other reply. To help consolidate this form of possessive, transfer it to classroom situations asking Whose school bag is this? It's Aldo's school bag. It's the teacher's bag.


In my pocket            Author June Crebbin Illus Katherine McEwen Talkers

Walker Books           Paperback                ISBN 0-7445-8306-3     £3.99

A counting book, numbers 2 to 10, but with a difference. In my pocket were …and a picture shows us a little girl looking in her pocket. She begins to count the things, Two stripy socks, Three torn tickets, Four freckled frogs and on up to Ten marvellous marbles and … there was something else, too!

A simple text that children soon pick-up especially if they can already count to ten. A natural way to learn about adjectives.


Peekaboo Baby!         Author Mandy Ross  Illus Kate Merritt          Talkers

Ladybird Books          Novelty/Boardbook      ISBN 0-7214-2369-8     £4.99

Don't be put off by the use of baby in the title as this rhyming flap book will appeal to Nursery aged children too! This is  5 spreads of a game in which you have to find out who is hiding behind the flap. Before you lift up the flap to check you answer children can join in with you and say Peekaboo - which is attractively written in silver letters. The text is in rhyming language and children will soon pick it up especially if you have used some of the phrases before hand like  One, two, three - Are you ready? You'll find out soon! Oh goodness me Well fancy that! Here's a + noun, you've seen before!

The lively colour combinations and the interestingly shaped flaps add to the excitement and the surprise including a mirror on the last spread. Children will love it even if you have to get across difficult language like What a very stylish hat! A great book but don't introduce it until children can cope with the language.


Splash!                    Author-Illustrator Flora McDonnell              Talkers

Walker Books           Paperback         ISBN 0-7445-7733-0            £5.99

Children love to visit Safari parks. Take your class on a Safari to India through these large atmospheric illustrations inspired by an elephant called Tara in the Kanha National Park in India. The author writes that as soon as Tara reached the water 'she reverted to being the playful, naughty baby elephant she must once have been'. Minimal text supports the life-like illustrations to convey the fun that a hot mother elephant and her baby, a tiger and a rhinoceros have playing with water. Tiger is hot. Lovely water. Water to drink. Water to squirt. Splash! Splash! SPLASH!

Until tiger is cool and happy and so are all the other animals as they return home under the full moon.

One class followed this up with a collage of animals stuck onto a large background of a similar Safari park; they got a lot of spare Travel Brochures and cut the animals from them!


One Too Many Tigers  Author Cressida Creswell Illus Andy Ellis              Talkers

Hodder Children's Books     Paperback         ISBN 0-340-792-140     £3.99

Don't be put off thinking the title is too difficult as children soon pick-it-up as one phrase. This rhyming story about four Tigers in a Tiger Tree makes a change from Nursery Rhymes and is certainly easier to understand!.

One was Tootle and Tootle was a tiger. One sleepy tiger in the Tiger Tree.

Two was Mummy and Mummy was a tiger too. Two sleepy tigers in the Tiger Tree. Joined by Daddy  and Titbit there was suddenly One too many tigers in the Tiger Tree. WHAT EVER SHALL WE DO!

Remember the old tiger saying, 'When the number of tails is more than three, you need to find a bigger tree!' and they were helped by the Cockatoo! The illustrations are soft and supportive of the easy-to-pick-up language. Many of the phrases may seem beyond what you want to introduce but some can be useful in other situations! Easy to adapt for an end of term play; any extra children can be additional animals in the jungle and join in as a chorus.


Chimp and Zee          Author-Illus Laurence and Catherine Anholt  Talkers

Frances Lincoln         Hardback                 ISBN 0-7112-1761-0     £10.99

If your children don't know Chimp and Zee, the cuddly, cheeky monkey twins, they are missing a delight. Just published they are a children's classic for the future. Chimp and Zee live in a coconut tree house by a river and close to the sea. Check the simple pictorial map for details. In the first story book (second to be published Autumn 2002) they go on a shopping expedition to Jungletown with Mumkey to buy bananas. Chimp and Zee find buying bananas rather boring and find a place to hide behind what they think is a small grey stone.

Wherever are those naughty monkeys?' says Mumkey.

Up jumps Chimp.

Up jumps Zee.

'Ha, ha, ha!

Hee, hee, hee!' (A natural playground rhyme.)

They then hide again behind a middle-sized stone and finally inside the banana basket right on top of the biggest grey stone of all. But a remarkable thing happens. The three grey stones begin to wobble, shake, and  rumble. Then the three grey stones get up and slowly walk away. What were the grey stones? What happened to Chimp and Zee. How did they get home to Mumkey and their father.

The easy-to-read and copy script is actually a font made of Laurence Arnholt's handwriting. A newly created section of games and activities with Chimp and Zee on the arnholt website provides many opportunities beyond those suggested by the easily accessible drawings.

Chimp and Zee finger puppets are available and can be the basis of making other animals and props for a class puppet show. Some children may have read the story in their home-language, which will make understanding the English text quicker. Don't be put off by two idioms which might be new to you: monkey about, which is a way of saying 'mess around' and go bananas, which means 'go crazy about' something! Chimp and Zee are great. I think you'll go bananas about them.

Shh!                       Author-Illustrator Colin McNaughton          Talkers

Collins                    Paperback/Novelty      ISBN 0-00-666647715-4 £5.99

A Lift-the-Flap Book

Before you begin check that the children know how to play their home-language version of the game hide and seek. This is a story about Mister Wolf is determined to catch Preston Pig, who is hiding in places the reader doesn't expect.

I'm coming to get you! says Mister Wolf and the game begins. Shh! Don't tell Mister Wolf says Preston Pig. As Mister Wolf searches, he talks to himself in the same way as some parents do when they are looking. Where's Preston? Is he in the house? Lift up a flap of a cottage, to see an upstairs as well as a downstairs. In the bathroom behind the shower curtain there's a speech bubble Oink and on the back of the flap Mister Wolf continues to think aloud He might be! Turn over and Mr Wolf continues his search Is he in the shower?  Oink comes from behind the shower curtain in the bathroom. Lift up the curtain and No he's not! (It's Preston's mum.) The search continues in the garden, in the street, in the park, in the shop and even in the school until Preston is found underneath three flaps!  An exciting story created by vibrantly amusing pictures and very little text in spoken form. Add to the excitement by getting the children to say Preston's lines, Shh! Don't tell Mr Wolf. Once children know the story well, act it out in the classroom. You may find that the children transfer it to play their own  I'm coming to get you in the playground using some of the story language..


My Mummy              Author-Illustrator Guido Van Genechten              Talkers

Cat's Whiskers          Novelty/Paperback      ISBN 1 903012-31-7     £4.99

A Lift-the-Flap-Book

The warmth of the special relationship between a mother and her child comes across clearly in this lift the flap story in which Jack and Mummy play hide and seek. Jack helped by his dog looks for Mummy behind the sofa, and part of the sofa lifts up to reveal all the things hidden behind it. Behind the curtains and again this reveals something else! The story continues in the toy box, behind the door and Jack gets more worried as the search continues and he can't find his mother. At last he hears her coming and he decides to hide behind the door. As Mummy comes into the room Jack says Boo and he leaps straight into her arms! The final spread ends by Mummy telling Jack You have to stay with me always because I LOVE YOU! The clear moving illustrations support the text and help to convey the emotions of a Mother and her son. Boys will relate to this story as well as girls. A good opportunity to hear more about children's feelings, their family and life at home.


Potty Time               Author-Illustrator Guido Van Genechten              Talkers

Cat's Whiskers          Paperback                ISBN 1-90301-211-2     £4.99

Go round the Zoo with a group of young children and they spend a lot of their time about how animals relieve themselves and especially about the size of different animal's poos! This book brings out giggles in even the most timid child. It's  potty time! said Joe and nine animals Nellie Elephant, Tall Thin Giraffe, Percy Pig, Ziggy Zebra etc follow his command and sit on their own potty. As each animal sits down they make a comment about their own botty .The fun comes from the clear, hilarious pictures of the animals each sitting happily on their own potty, which is either too big or too small for the size of their botty. When each animal is sitting contentedly on their own potty, Joe says And here's the potty for my botty! Then guess what! He congratulates himself on having successfully performed Well done, Joe! Children want you to re-read and re-read this story. They love to pore over the illustrations giggling away to themselves at the difference in botty and potty sizes! A great book for children of Nursery school age as it reminds them that they are now big and no longer need a potty!

·    Song books

If You're Happy and You Know It  Illustrator Annie Kubler             Starters

Child's Play (International) Ltd    Boardbook ISBN 0-85953-846-X    £3.99

One of the winners of The Sainsbury Prize for Books for Babies this isn't what you expect! Using the old familiar tune, this song has been altered to include fun activities just right for very young children. It's sure to create lots of laughs. I abbreviated it to sing only the first two lines which are repetition.

If you're happy and you know it, clap you hands

Then I went on to If your happy and you know it Hide away!

Other activities are Kick your legs! Rattle and shake! Push the blocks! Roll about! Hold on tight! Hug your friend! And finally on the bag cover Wave Goodbye.

Of course introduce the actions little by little and as best suited to your group of young learners. They'll quickly pick up the word happy and the phrase that goes with the activity. The book illustration shows babies doing the activities which makes most children feel quite grown up! The simple text, in easy-to-copy phrases, describes the activities. A pity the music and words of the song are not included but they can be found in most EFL text books! Have fun, children love it.


·     Non-Fiction books

Ten Seeds                Author-Illustrator Ruth Brown                   Talkers

Andersen Press          Boardbook                ISBN 0-86264 849 1     £5.99

Count to ten in a way you can never forget if you live in Northern Europe or temperate climates. The detailed illustrations take you into a family's garden, where a child has just planted ten sunflower seeds. Watch them grow and count down as they are destroyed by animals that live in the garden and the house and also a ball. However one seed survives to be a flower and produce ten more seeds. Children soon pick-up the very simple phrases that together with the life-like illustrations tell us so much about a life-cycle that could go on in our neighbourhood park or garden. The book is a moving holistic experience that teaches much more than counting. Children need time to read this book, and especially the pictures, at their own speed. An excellent addition to any Book or English corner.


Can you see it? Square! Author Photographer Sally Smallwood          Talkers

Zero to Ten Ltd          Paperback                ISBN 1-84089-195-5     £4.99

Maths is all around us and children are interested in looking for shapes if we set the scene for them and this book will do just that for you. It will start them looking square tiles, frames, mirrors and even books! Sometimes you walk on squares. I like to draw them too! I've found a square and I've made one!  This square has a very important job to do! Guess what it is. It's soft paper and white and I use it to wipe my nose. Ideal for a topic and something that will stimulate boys and get them talking. Fantastic photos of children with squares help to motivate. Why not collect squares.

These books are particularly useful for concept and language development for Nursery children who have been exposed to English for some time. If you put them in the book corner children and especially boys, love to pour over the photographs. It is fun to make a pictorial list of all the squares you can find around you at school and then ask them to do it at home as well. Parents also enjoy thinking about the \maths around them!

Can you see it? Rectangle! ISBN 1-84089-193-9

Can you see it? Triangle! ISBN 1-84089-196-3

Can you see it? Circle ISBN 1-84089-194-7



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