Monday, 20 August 2012

Borrowed Book Bounty!

Hallelujah for libraries!

The rate that my son and I go through picture books is staggering... The library is a huge help, we get to change books every week which makes bedtime story telling much more interesting!
I am also encouraging OJ to discover and select information books. I want to teach him that books hold more than stories. He selected two information books this week; on his most favourite subject: Vehicles!

Here is the latest picture book haul, and I don't think there are any here that we have had before. Hopefully there will be reviews to follow.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Jaime Lea and the Bumblebee - Review

Title: Jaime Lea and the Bumble Bee
Author: Adrian Thorpe
Illustrator: Matthew Thorpe
Published: Mathelian Books 2012
Discovered: Won in a giveaway! (Yay!)

*Note: I won this lovely picture book at Pen to Paper, the review is all my own opinion and I was not in anyway influenced to write it.

What's it all about?
Jaime Lea has been in a wheelchair since the age of three. He enjoys playing games and watching TV, but what he loves most, is being in his garden amongst the flowers and the trees. He shows great kindness to a very tired bee, and in doing so, helps it to fly away. A fairy appears and asks Jaime who would he like to be. Jaime responds by explaining that he loves his life and likes being himself. The fairy, moved, grants Jaime a wish; and so Jaime becomes a bumblebee for a day...
I very much loved the ideas and concepts in this story. I liked that there was an element of magic and gentleness to it.

The language is simple and explores the sights and sounds of the garden. The use of rhyme by the author assists in giving the story it's rhythm and allows it to flow from each event to the next.

What stands out for me in particular, is the author 's choice of main character. I like that the author has chosen a child in a wheelchair for this adventure. (I think more books should feature children from all walks of life as the main character more often ) When faced with the opportunity to be someone else and to be free of the wheelchair, Jaime explains that he would only want to be himself. This is such an important message to young children. It's wonderful to discover a book that offers this kind of positive imagery.

There are many other messages within the story, an example of such is when Jaime is a bumblebee and helping the others to collect pollen; he reflects on how it feels good to work hard and help others.

When it comes to the illustrations, I have to honest, I thought computer designed illustrations would be 'blocked' and feel cold (I am rubbish at describing what I actually  mean by this, I guess  I just mean that they would feel 'flat') but the illustrations in this story are carefully layered giving them depth and warmth. They are vibrant and they are also the kind of pictures that you need to look at again and again to discover extra, interesting details. I was delighted that the fairy was hidden on each page as the story progressed (a detail we missed to begin with, but a fun discovery!)

I also liked that the text was surrounded by pretty, blossom images, it was if the reader is looking into the garden.

I personally would love to see this story in schools. (It could be used to support a variety of topics - it gave me plenty of ideas! Creative writing, garden displays, insect topics etc) The positive messages, coupled with the imagery would compliment any story shelf as well as the curriculum; focusing mainly on personal and social development; encouraging children to reflect on what it means to be themselves.

Overall, the story is put together with a lot of care and thought and the pictures that accompany it have just the same attention to detail.

OJ found this story a little difficult to follow. He was somewhat quiet as we shared the story, but this is not to say that I didn't think he wasn't enjoying it. The pictures appeared to engage his interest.
I feel that this book would be better suited to children 4 years and up, but OJ loved finding the insects in the illustrations.

Book worm rating:
out of 5

P.S. A huge thank you to Dani at Pen to Paper for setting up the giveaway; and thank you to Adrian and Matthew Thorpe for getting the book into the post so quickly!