for adults helping children

learn English as a foreign language

or additional language

May and November        distributed free                              download Issues from

PICTURE BOOKS- child-friendly resources?



From the Editor -     Opal Dunn




Bookings for the REALBOOK CONFERENCE in November are starting to come in and since numbers are limited to 200, if you are interested, you should register now. From the enclosed flier you will see that the Conference programme packs in fascinating and unusual events focused on the interests of any one who uses picture books with non-native English speaker children. Apart from collecting the results from 16 researchers in 10 countries and hearing from 4 published authors on methodology, there will be a chance to hear from author illustrators, too. Tony Ross will talk about The Magic Pencil Exhibition and also Susan Laughs (Issue 9), Pat Hutchins will introduce her new books and tell us about making some of her best sellers like Rosie’s Walk (Issue 14) and Stella Blackstone will talk about writing books including Who are you? (Issue 10). Wearing her publisher’s hat, Stella Blackstone will also introduce Barefoot Book’s exhibition Imagine based on An Island in the Sun (Issue 11).There will be a special signing session for all authors so there will be an opportunity to meet them personally then or at the British Council reception or the Conference Dinner. Publishers will be exhibiting so there will be an opportunity to buy books. Research papers will be published by the University of Munich. Further details including registration forms are on the website or can be obtained from Three of us, Dr Janet Enever, Leonora Froehlich-Ward and I have been working hard on a voluntary basis to make this both a useful Conference and a fun time to meet colleagues in this special, but growing, field of REALBOOKS for non-native speaker children learning English.


Issue 15 of REALBOOK NEWS is the last issue in this format. Before the Conference in November REALBOOK NEWS will go up on the web in an up-to-date website including news and book selections with colour pictures. My plan is to make information more globally available to meet the growing interest in using REALpictureBOOKs in the classroom and also in the home. More parents are expressing an interest in helping their children learn English with REALpictureBOOKs and I hope to make our information accessible to them as selecting the right book is so important for success.


The British Council, Warsaw, Poland one day Conference – Real Books in the Classroom: Using authentic children’s literature in ELT in January was very successful and in fact booked out. Unfortunately few of us were able to enjoy the exhibition Imagine as there were problems with delivery and it arrived too late. 


For those of you with time to spare in London and wanting to see a very good collection of picture books, I suggest you visit the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). This is situated in Central London about ten minutes away from Waterloo Station. Take the exit from the station for Waterloo Road and turn right towards the Old Vic Theatre. In front of the Theatre turn left and left again into a small street called Webber Street. CLPE is housed in an old single storey building at the bottom of this street on the corner of Webber Street and Webber Row. Please inform staff before visiting by email or by phone 4420 7401 3382 (ask for Ann Lazim, Librarian) or Fax 4420 7928 4624 mentioning that you have heard about CLPE through REALBOOK NEWS. CLPE is usually closed during most of the UK school holidays.


You maybe interested in two well-illustrated information books published by Hodder Wayland which provide short introductions to the life and work of some of the best known classic writers and poets. Favourite classic writers - Nikki Gamble ISBN 0-7502-4286-8 and Favourite Classic Poets - Brian Moses ISBN 0-7502-4292-2 £5.99 Both books provide links to recommended websites.


Hoping to meet you in Munich in November at the Conference,

Feature ArticleREALpictureBOOKS – under-utilised in foreign language learning?


 ‘recreational reading is the most powerful tool available for language and literacy development. It is especially important for helping second and foreign language acquirers develop the ability to use language for more than simple conversation. The amount of pleasure reading done in the second language is a strong predictor of performance in tests of writing, reading, grammar and vocabulary.’  Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus - Daily Yomiuri Jan/20 2004


What is a REAL Book?

§                     A Genre created in UK in 1960’s to distinguish authentic language picture books from  readers based on the graded readability of the word content.

Readability and word counts were based on – Whole word recognition (Look and say) (Gestalt)

                    -   Phonic sounds (26 letters/44 sounds-20 vowels)


§                     Today the term AUTHENTIC is gradually replacing REAL as the styles of readers try to emulate REAL picture Books.


·                    English as A Foreign Language Text Books fit into yet another category and children are quick to recognise the differences.

Whenever we get to a more boring grammar slot in the text book the pupils ask, ’When are we going to read those beautiful books again?’ REALpictureBOOK Project 1999-2001 Pecs University, Hungary.


§                     REALBOOKs consist of three main categories:

Story  - Conjuror Cow-Julia Davidson Illus Nick Sharratt   Puffin ISBN 0-14-056848-4


Rhyme/Poetry  - Cats Sleep Anywhere Eleanor Farjeon Anne Mortimer  Frances Lincoln ISBN 0-7112-1286-4


Information - River Story Meredith Hooper Bee Willey  Walker ISBN 0-7445-8210-5


What the developing child needs?


Mr Cool  Hildegard Muller           Cat’s Whiskers ISBN 1-90301-205-8



How can REAL picture books broaden?

§     Richness and quality of experiences with a variety of Realbooks can offer something for every individual child and something for both boys and girls.


All kinds of people Novelty Book  Emma Damon Tango Books ISBN 1-85707-067-4

§     Literacy skills – Learning to read, enjoying reading, loving books.

§     Visual Literacy - decoding pictures. Realbooks can ‘allow children to see life though an infinite number of different sets of spectacles – which is what real tolerance is about’ Janet Daley, The London Times

§     Visual Literacy – decoding different text styles. ‘In the modern world Media Literacy will become as important a skill as maths and science.’ The UK Cultural Secretary, Tessa Jowell

§     Reading about Feelings; other people’s feelings and learning to cope with your own.

‘Literature provides meaning in our lives. Finding of meaning is the greatest need and the most difficult achievement for any human of our age.’ Bruno Bettelheim


Susan Laughs Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross          Red Fox ISBN 0-09-940756-6


§     Imagination/Creativity

§     Stimulation/Motivation/Fun/Relaxation.

§     Memory- picking-up language and finding out how it works. Teachers claim that the children have acquired a lot of new words and structures from the books without being obliged to learn these words under the threat of an eventual word-test. RealpictureBook Project Pecs, Hungary.

§     Browsing - a form of book play. Book Corners provide opportunities to borrow Books and browse.

§     Family support. Bonding through sharing stories, rhymes, songs and discussing them.

§     ‘Feel Good’ factor – a vital pre-requisite for learning. Teachers report that children are happier and calmer since they use REALpictureBooks  RealpictureBook Project, Pecs,Hungary.


Developing reading and attitudes to Books

The full impact is hard to judge as REALpictureBOOKS touch the inner souls of children in different ways. Immediate evaluation would be superficial, as the results may not show for years as in the case of children in Dan Dan Bunko(mini-Library for bilingual Japanese-English children). The members of this group (now in their early 30s) still talk about the books we shared.  Home-Bunko- More than a book lending scheme ICBA.

§     Richness of experience for everyone at their own level.

§         From the first lesson - a trip for the imagination

§         Follow-up – but not as in Secondary School with texts to be analysed.

§         Many diverse experiences – a new book each week. Building up a repertoire of books.


The importance of quality mediation between the book and the child

§     The adult is the enabling mediator.

§         The adult’s attitude to a book is felt and is usually contagious.

§         The adult’s book selection is vital for matching individual children’s needs and interests.

§         The adult’s presentation is important – reading, quality of voice and mime all impress.

§         The adult’s organisation of time to book browse enables necessary consolidation in each child’s individual way and at their own pace.


This is the beginning of Literacy - creating a life long love and interest in books and a joy in reading. REAL picture BOOKS can be magic for children; they are for some adults. Like adults, each child builds his own relationship with a book and develops his own favourites. We as teachers must not break these spells ‘Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.’ William Butler Yeats (Poet and Play Write).


Rain    Manya Stojic David Bennett Books ISBN 1-85602-413-X                                     


REALBOOK NEWS Feature Articles (Back Issues 1–14)


Plenary given at the British Council ConferenceReal Books in the Classroom: Using authentic children’s literature in ELT January 2004        C Opal Dunn

14 BOOKS for Nursery and Primary (front cover)


Cluck, Cluck Who’s There? Author James Mayhew

Illus: Caroline Jayne-Church                                                                  N/P Level 1a

The Chicken House       Novelty/ Hardback      ISBN 1-903434-94-7      £5.99

Hattie the hen laid an egg and, lift the flap, it is hidden in the straw underneath. Cluck said Hattie. Hattie, the white hen, laid another egg Cluck cluck, she said. And then another egg Cluck, cluck, cluck.  Hattie sat on her three eggs and waited. Lift the flaps over the windows to see how long she waited. One day she heard a noise. Tap, tap, tap! Who’s there? Cheep, cheep, cheep and out popped three little chicks. But Hattie lost the chicks. Did the mouse who looks on in each spread have something to do with this? Lift the flaps to find out. This well-rounded simple story with easy-to-pick-up language is attractively illustrated with cleverly situated flaps-ups that blend into each picture.


 We all went on Safari Author Laurie Krebs Illus: Julia Cairns             N/P Level 1a

Barefoot Books         Paperback      ISBN 1-84148-782-1                       £4.99p

Have you ever dreamed of going on safari to sub-Sahara Africa? Well this book will take you to the grasslands of Tanzania and introduce you to the Masai people. This is a counting Journey through Tanzania and whilst you track your way through the large expanse of grasslands you meet the animals and learn how to count them in Swahili, Masai people’s language. A group of Masai adults and children all went on Safari, When the day had just begun

We spied a lonely leopard. Arusha (one of the children) counted one. In the corner of the page is the number one and the how to say it in Swahli - moja. Notes on how to pronounce names can be found at the back of the book as well as Facts about Tanzania and details about the animals.

We all went on safari, Through a rocky hillside glen.

We watched enormous elephants, And Bodru counted ten. IO Kumi.

We all went on safari, In the sunset’s fading light.

We built ourselves a campfire And bid our friends ‘Goodnight’.

Why not join them on safari? The rhyming text is easy-to-pick-up. The book provides an easy-to-access compact cross-curricular experience about Tanzania. Through buying the book you contribute some money to the African Wildlife Foundation helping to conserve wildlife and local communities in Tanzania. Thank you Barefoot Books for this unique and memorable introduction to Tanzania.


Whose Tail? Author- Illustrator Sam Lloyd                                           N/P Level 1a Little Tiger Press             Boardbook             ISBN 1-85430-880-7              £3.99

Written and illustrated by Sam Lloyd whose book Happy Dog, Sad Dog was introduced in Issue 13.The bold illustration of a cheeky monkey swinging from a tail on the front cover gives a clear visual clue as to what to expect. Several books have used tails to introduce the question word whose, but this book is slightly different as all the animals do more than just pull the tail, they hang on to it  until the last animal objects and lets out a terrific ROAR!

The cheeky monkey pulled the tail of the stripy and turn the page to find the answer zebra.

The stripy zebra pulled the tail of the prickly and guess what it could be. It is blue, stumpy and with prickles! Porcupine This story based on the tails of five animals is ideal for dramatising from the very first lessons. With a little guidance Primary aged children can add on other animals to make the animal line fit the numbers of children in the group or class. A natural and easy way to learn how to use the word whose, which is a useful word in any active classroom or home


How Kind!       Author-Illus: Mary Murphy                                            NP/Level 1b

Walker Books                             ISBN 1-84428-466-2                                        £4.99

Mary Murphy’s lively, black outlined, colourful animal drawings, all with communicative eyes make this amusing repetitive tale come to life. Hen gives Pig an egg. How kind, said pig. Pig kept the egg safe and warm.

Hen is so kind he thought I would like to do something kind too.

Pig gave rabbit a carrot. This is for you Pig said.

How kind, said Rabbit. Pig is so kind thought Rabbit I will do something kind too……

And so the story continues with a Cow and a Cat and a Puppy until Pig says to the Puppy Would you like to see my egg? Puppy looked at the egg and said, It’s nice. What is it for? CRACK went the egg. CHEEP went a chick…….and they took the chick back to the Hen. Can you guess what the Hen said? A great story to dramatise using a few props, a narrator and the 7 animals. Hopefully the phrase How Kind will be absorbed into class and family language and used when appropriate!


Beans on Toast     Author- Illustrator  Paul Dowling                               N/P Level 1a

Walker Books               Paperback           ISBN 0-7445-9836-2              £4.99

This simple story-information book tells the life story of beans- from the stalk on the green plant to the plate - in an unusual and fun way. The story is told through bold black outlined pictures with a minimal repetitive text. Beans on stalks showing the beans on the plant. Beans on legs as the farmer carries the bean pods to where he helps a lady take them out of their pods. Then Beans on wheels as the beans are driven away in a truck and Beans on the road as they go to the factory where they are put into tins and sent to the shop. Three tins of beans are bought by a family, taken home and cooked. The story ends with beans on toast- the typical British way of serving beans in tomato sauce. In seventeen phrases all beginning with the word Beans the story of the bean comes alive due to the fact that most of the story is told in the humorous illustrations. Children can enjoy this book from the first lessons.


We’re going on a Picnic    Author- Illustrator  Pat Hutchins                          N/P Level 1b

Red Fox                         Paperback         ISBN 0-09-943304-4               £4.99

Those of you who love the classic Rosie’s Walk by award-winning Pat Hutchins will be delighted with her new story about Rosie the Hen first published in 2002. Let’s go on a picnic said Hen, Duck and Goose. It’s such a lovely day! And off Rosie and her friends go on another journey through the familiar countryside, know from Rosie’s Walk, stopping to pick fruit for the picnic on the way. We are going on a picnic they sang as they walked up the hill and down the hill and down this path, each time thinking they could find a nicer place for a picnic. Each time they stopped they set their basket down and from the illustrations readers can see what happened. Unbeknown to them, they were being followed, but not by a fox as in Rosie’s Walk. As they walked around the lane they were surprised to find We’ve walked back home and we haven’t had our picnic! Off we go again. But when they picked up the basket, it was very light. What had happened? They didn’t bother to ask and set off again picking their favourite fruit on the way. How does it end? The repetitive text is easy-to-pick up and children enjoy acting out the story. Those of them who know Rosie will realise she hasn’t changed; she is still not ‘farmyard-wise’! Thanks Pat for at last letting us meet Rosie again!


My world, your world            Author-Illustrator Melanie Walsh      N/P Level 1a

Picture Corgi       Paperback           ISBN 0-552-55055-8                          £5.99

Melanie Walsh helps us to spot the similarities as well as the differences between children all round the world in this boldly illustrated book using vibrant colours. The reader is introduced to children of about the same age from different cultural backgrounds and is told their names. First their differences are introduced

Georgie says Hello. Luc says bonjour, but they both say hee, hee, hee when they are tickled showing a picture of their bare feet, which look more or less the same, being tickled with a feather.

Prudence eats her dinner with a knife and fork. Mai eats her dinner with chopsticks. But they both drink their juice with a straw! showing Prudence and Mai’s faces each with a straw in their mouth

drinking from different coloured glasses. Further examples discuss sports and homes. This sensitive introduction can be the beginning of the recognition of similarities and differences in the food we like and eat. How many children have eaten Chinese food with chopsticks? Gradually the discussion can move on to people they know. An ideal book to start talking about Europe and the global village.


Baby Bird   Author Joyce Dunbar Illustrator Russell Ayto                      N/PLevel 1a

Walker Books     Paperback       ISBN 1-84428-464-6                                    £4.99

Baby Bird, like most baby birds once they have left the nest, desperately wants to fly into the sky and nothing is going to stop him. Written with the same rhythm as the traditional rhyme The House That Jack Built, the language is easy-to-pick-up.

This is the bird that climbed out of the nest and flop flop flop he fell.

This is the squirrel that sniffed at the bird that fell.

This is the bee that buzzed round the bird that fell.

This is the frog that hopped over the bee that fell

A baby bird that wanted to fly up, up above in the sky and thought he would have just one more try flap flap flap flap flap flap. This is the bird that flew.

The verb tenses may not be those that are generally included in a the first weeks of learning, but children will pick up the blocks of language from your reading aloud and will soon join in with the flops and flaps, the animal noises and phrases like one more try. Give it a try and you may have a surprise to find that children find choral-speaking this rhyme from beginning to learn English fun.


How to speak Moo Author- Illus Deborah Fajerman                            N/P Level 1b

Red Fox               Paperback                     ISBN 0-780099-417934                              £5.99

An unusual book that is sure to get everyone mooing just like the black and white cows in the amusing illustrations. The first spread takes you into the cow classroom where the teacher is pointing to moo on the blackboard. The cow language is called Moo and every single word is moo even  Mooseum

So you think that all moos sound the same? Well, think again.

Moo depends a lot on size. Big cows do lows, little ones highs.

Cows never moo when they eat their lunch. The sound they make is munch munch munch. and Burp! follows in a speech bubble as a black and white cow rubs its full stomach.

The final spread invites you to sing along to all the different types of moo - Loud, soft, Jiggly, Boinging, in a tunnel, through a funnel, wobbly, high, low, Moo-sical, smooth and sleeping.

The rhyming text together with the cartoon-like illustrations makes this a great interactive experience, which even those who feel they are not good at English can join in and have fun.


Dog Blue       Author-Illustrator Polly Dunbar                                        N/P Level 2

Walker Books  Paperback    ISBN 1-84428-514-6                                  £4.99  w

Bertie Loved Blue. He had a blue jumper, a blue dog collar, blue shoes, but alas no blue dog!

So Bertie pretended he had a blue dog and fed his pretend dog and took it for a walk. Bertie even pretended he was a blue dog and Bertie even yapped like a blue dog YAP! Then a real dog yapped back! A black and white dog who soon became Bertie’s dog. Since Berite’s dog was not blue he decided to call him BLUE! The story ends happily with Bertie loves Blue and Blue loves Bertie. A delightful story sensitively illustrated on superb pastel coloured paper. Pet lovers or children dreaming of having a puppy can easily relate to this story.



See you later, Alligator       Author-Illustrator Annie Kubler                          N/P Level 1b

Child’s Play  Novelty/Hardback      ISBN 1-904550-05-3                                 £5.99

A novelty book, with no paper engineering, but a cloth Alligator puppet, that pops out of a hole on each right-hand page. Alligator is always too busy to help Crocodile.  Wake up Alligator. We’ve got a busy day ahead. Lots to do!

Yawn. Let me finish my dream!

I’m going shopping for some bread. Are you coming, Alligator? Not right now, Crocodile. Then follow the famous phrases See you later, Alligator! to which Alligator replies In a while, Crocodile! To every request for help Crocodile has some excuse that he can’t help. This fun interactive, game-book with easy-to-pick-up, useful phrases helps children to think about helping others. Annie Kubler’s black outlined colourful drawings add to the fun.


Tilly     Who tickled Tilly?      Author-Illustrator  Mandy Stanley          N/PLevel1b

Chrysalis Children’s Books        Hardback           ISBN 1-85602-487-3         £9.99

Tilly was snoozing in the sun when something happened! Someone tickled my nose. Who tickled Tilly? Tilly asked crow and frog and then the baby rabbits. The babies shook their heads altogether and said No! Tilly wondered if she had been dreaming. Perhaps nobody tickled me at all. I close my eyes for a nap. At that moment it happened again! Who did it? Was it piglet? No, but piglet said he knew who it was. It was someone whose wings glistened in the air. The dragonfly confessed with a giggle Yes, it was me! Do you want to play? So all the animals, Tilly and the dragonfly played together amongst the sparkling flowers in the sunshine. This pastel coloured, sparkly book is the first children’s book made by Mandy Stanley who previously designed clothes and toys. The softness of the scenes and the sweet animal characters attracts girls and Tilly soon becomes very popular.



Where we live   Author- Illustrator Reg Cartwright                         NP/Level Ib

Hutchinson           Hardback           ISBN 0-09-188497-7                        £5.99

Award-winning artist Reg Cartwright’s bold colourful oil paintings introduce 22 animals and where they live in a story-information book. The easy and fairly repetitive rhyming text is soon picked up and forms the foundations of a reference bank of simple present usage verb as well as prepositions of place.

I am a tiger and I live in the jungle I am a whale and I live in the sea.

I am a crocodile and I live in the river. I am a bird and I live in a tree.

I am a fox and I live in the woods. We sheep and we live on a farm.

We sleep all day and come out at night. We are owls and we live in a barn.

I am a rabbit and I live in a burrow. I can live anywhere because I’m a mouse.

I am a camel and live in the desert and we are children and we live in a house .                                                                              

Good to read aloud letting each child take the role of an animal. Easy to extend to personal identity with I am a girl and I live in ……….and I have a pet. It is a dog/cat and it lives/sleeps…..                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          


In What we do in the same series, Reg Cartwright introduces many other animals and what they do.

We are worms and we wiggle. I’m a caterpillar, I creep.

I’m a fish and I swim. We are lambs and we leap.

I’m a moth and I flutter. I’m a mouse and I scurry.

We are ants and we march. We are always in a hurry.

Both this books are good additions to any book corner and useful reference for project work


11 BOOKS for Primary (back cover)

The Dove              Author- Illus: Nicholas Allan                                        P/Level 1b

Red Fox          Paperback      ISBN 0-09-967971-X                                £4.99p


A simple, moving story with an amusing and un-expected ending and a message about how to share. Previously published in hardback by Hutchinson in 1997, the title in the paperback edition has been changed to The Dove. The story begins by introducing a Hermit who lived on an island all by himself which was how he liked it. It was always quiet, always tidy and always peaceful. But one day he had a visitor Flap Flap. Of course it was the dove, who made lots of noise.

The hermit told him to go and find another island. But there were none so they had to share! At first it worked but finally it was no good. The hermit thought about different ways of silencing the dove and ended up by making the dove so unhappy that it flew away. The hermit grew lonelier and lonelier and wished the bird would come back…. Until – at last- Flap Flap. They were both so happy to see each other and agreed that it was so nice to share with a friend. But that wasn’t the end of the story! The hermit ended up sharing with more than one bird……  The black outlined drawings in simple wash with occasional speech bubbles are easy to decode and copy. The easy-to-pick-up text includes useful conversations that can be easily transferred to daily life experiences. Dove is a memorable experience!


Fantastic Daisy Artichoke  Author- Illus: Quentin Blake                        P/Level 1a

Red Fox     Paperback                    ISBN 0-09-940006-5                                  £5.99

Meet fantastic Daisy Artichoke in this rhyming introduction to all that she can do.

Here’s our friend Daisy Artichoke. We remember the first day that we spoke. Her three fat cats we liked to stroke. We love it when she tells a joke. She isn’t quite like other folk. Speech bubbles and whitty illustrations together with the easy-to-pick-up rhyming text help you feel you really know the eccentric Fantastic Daisy Artichoke. Great for choral-speaking. Kids love Daisy Artichoke!


Click,Clack,Moo Cows that type

Author Doreen Cronin   Illustrator Betsy Lewin                                      P/Level 2

Pocket Books            Paperback     ISBN 0-743-46151-7                        £4.99

Farmer Brown has a big problem. Imagine all his cows want to do is type all day every day.

Click, clack, moo, Click, clack, moo, Clickety, clack, moo. So what do they do? Send Farmer Brown a note to say that they are cold in the barn at night and would like some electric blankets! No way said Farmer Brown so the cows went on strike and there was No milk. The next day he got another note The hens are cold, too. They’d like electric blankets. No way said Farmer Brown so the hens went on strike, too. So a farm with no milk and no eggs, how did Farmer Brown solve his problem? Well Duck was neutral and offered to negotiate. A deal was struck to exchange the type writer for some electric blankets. But the type writer never got to Farmer Brown. Instead he heard Click, clack, quack. Click, clack, quack. Clickety, clack, Quack and soon afterwards a note appeared from the ducks. How the problem was resolved can be found out from the expressive, clear, outlined drawings.


 What do you dream? Author Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Illustrator Joung Un Kim                                                                           P/Level 1a

Candlewick Press                   Hardback   ISBN 076361338X                            £10.99

Do you ever dream about all the lovely things nature has in store for us? This simple, circular story is about a young girl and her brown and black dog re-visiting the countryside they know well. It opens with a sensitive acrylic painting of a child and her dog lying in a meadow full of flowers.

Child tell me of what you dream? Turn the page to get a close up of the meadow and a flower. I dream of a flower in a sweet green meadow. The girl then approaches a flower and, holding it, asks Flower, tell me, of what you dream? The flower replies I dream of a butterfly with petal-soft wings. We then see a yellow butterfly on the flower Butterfly, tell me, of what do you dream? I dream of a tree hugging sky in its branches. In turn the wind, a cloud, rain, the sun, the moon and finally the earth are asked tell me, of what do you dream? And the earth replies I dream of a child dreaming of me. A beautiful story with a green message. Transfer the question to children and ask them by name, tell me of what do you dream in the world outside. Make booklets consisting of 5 spreads and ask children to write down the question and give a one word or phrase replies. They like making the choices!


I Like Cats    Author Patricia Hubbell Illus: Pamela Paparone                 P/Level 1b

North-South books       Harback     ISBN 0-7358-1774-X                        £9.99

Superb illustrations accompany this rhyme all about cats and their relationship with a child I like cats. It’s plain to see. I like cats – and cat’s like me! Every phrase in this easy to learn rhyme is accompanied by an illustration making understanding quick. A memorable experience. I like cats is an ideal for book browsing and borrowing and is full of stimulating ideas likely to inspire creativity.


Aaaarrgghh, Spider!  Author-Illustrator Lydia Monks                             P/Level 1b

Egmont                Paperback           ISBN 1-4052-1044-3                        £4.99

In her introduction Lydia Marks tells us I don’t like spiders! but she goes on to write this story from the spider’s view point. It’s really lonely being a spider. I want to be a family pet. THIS family’s pet! says the spider from the ceiling looking down at the family. Then the spider jumps down to the floor Look at me. Watch me dance. Imagine the horror on the family’s faces as they shout, Out you go! Oh dear! The spider progresses to the bath, the dining table and then the garden where she decides to live all by herself. When the family see the lovely sparkling, touchy-feely webs that the spider makes in the garden someone suggests Maybe she’d make a good pet. She becomes a real, true, proper pet and goes everywhere with the family. But one day they have a surprise that makes them say Aaaarrgghh, Spiders. The wacky illustrations bring this story alive.


Egg Drop   Author-Illustrator Mini Grey                                                 P/Level  2

Red Fox               Paperback           ISBN 0-09-943203-X                              £5.99

This is the story of the egg that wanted to fly The egg had always loved looking up, seeing birds and balloons, aeroplanes and insects ……and wanted to fly with them. Egg was very young, didn’t stop for advice and didn’t know much about flying - it just knew that it had to get up high. Nearby there was a very tall tower made of bricks …. Inside there were 583 stone steps The egg climbed to the top … and was in the clouds. Then it jumped.  Whee! I am flying the egg said. In fact it was not flying but falling. Imagine the mess! Mother hen said If only it had waited. But all ended well as the egg was not wasted. A tale with a clear message. The very special detailed illustrations use space and perspective in exciting ways to support the story. Boys love this story.


Cat and Fish   Author Joan Grant Illus Neil Curtis                                 P/Level 1b

Lothian                    Hardback          ISBN 0-7344-0481-6                       £8.99

It is rare for children to see good quality black and white engravings and these by an award-winning Australian artist are superb. When cat and fish meet in the park they know that each lives in a different environment, but since they liked each other, they felt it would not matter. The short text tells us that each found learning about new things was fun. Cat showed fish how to climb and how to live on land on cold nights. But fish was lonely for the water, so cat found a boat to take her there. Eventually they found a compromise! This is a great book for browsing which is likely to influence not only imagination and creativity but pencil drawing styles too. A favourite with children and adults.


Which Witch’s Wand Works?  Author-Illustrator Poly Bernatene                  P/Level 2

Meadowside Children’s books   Paperback   ISBN 1-904511-68-6                  £4.99

For those of you looking for Halloween Books this paperback helps you enter the manic world of two witches, Rattle and Ricket and their cat Rum. Every Friday evening Rattle, Ricket and Rum sit down to watch their favourite television programme WHICH WITCH’S WAND WORKS? However they thought they could do better than the programme witches and so they decided to have a contest. They each said their spells but one spell turned wrong and as Rum was disappearing. Rattle jumped on her broomstick and flew out of the window in hot pursuit. After several adventures, all turned out well and to celebrate they decided to have a party…….  Atmospheric pictures with detailed drawings of Rattle and Ricket and their cat make this into spooky fun experience. A good story to dramatise.


Once upon An Ordinary School Day     Author Colin McNaughton

Illustrator Satoshi Kitamura                                                                       P/Level 1b

Anderson Press             Hardback       ISBN 1-84270-309-9                              £10.99

Once upon an ordinary school day, an ordinary boy woke from his ordinary dreams, got out of his ordinary bed, had an ordinary pee, an ordinary wash, put on his ordinary clothes and ate his ordinary breakfast. Of course he went to an ordinary school but his teacher was a quite extraordinary figure called Mr Gee. Mr Gee wanted them to listen to music and let the music makes some pictures in their heads. The children thought Mr Gee was barmy! But when the music stopped the children were full of pictures I saw elephants... Stampeding horses.  Isn’t it wonderful? laughed Mr Gee. Now I want you to try to put what you hear on paper. Start writing! The ordinary boy began to write … words just came flooding out …..and he was lost, lost in the game – the story-telling game. It was extraordinary. Satoshi Kitamura’s sensitive, detailed pictures make you feel you know the boy as they take you out of his ordinary world into his extraordinary dream world. Although the text is quite long, it is repetitive and predictable. Every child should have the chance to hold this imaginative book and browse. An exceptional experience likely to influence creativity and hopefully learning methods, too!


 The Loopy Life of Lola  Author-Illus Lindsey Gardiner                            P/Level 2

Oxford University Press     Paperback   ISBN 0-19-272572-6                            £4.99

Meet Lola, Lindsey Gardiner’s own real-life pet dog and her best friend. Uniquely presented with adorably illustrations and a fascinatingly presented text you can’t help but love loopy Lola.

At home Lola’s a little mountain goat jumping from peak to peak with her amazing balancing act and EATING EVERYTHING she finds along the way!

At mealtimes, Lola’s a fussy little madam! (She seems to think she’s human.) She INSISTS on having the SAME as everyone else …. No matter how messy! (At the table of course.) SOMETIMES…LOLA is just like a LITTLE PRINCESS….

This is a true story and it uses a lot of typical language used for talking about greatly loved pet dogs or cats. Children will soon pick up the phrases and should be encouraged to use them to talk about their own pets or to use in making up stories about their soft toys. (Many older children still have soft animal toys.) Lola actually lives in Dundee, Scotland and if you want to know what Lola really looks like, her photos is tucked away on a left hand page at the front of the book. An endearing story.


·        Recommends suitable books for Beginners

·        Includes a FEATURE ARTICLE on matters relevant to REALpictureBOOKS.

·        Selects books from any publisher - big or small.

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


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