Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tiny Miss Dott and her Dotty Umbrella by Michelle Osment

Meet Miss Dott the awesome charity store volunteer, who incidently, has a beautiful dotty green coat with mismatched buttons and a gorgeous green bag and tights. While at her volunteer job, her beautiful yellow dotty umbrella, which she leaves just outside the front door, has a little adventure all of its own. At hometime, Miss Dotty collects her umbrella from just outside the store where she had left it a few hours earlier. The sun has come out, it is a beautiful day and Miss Dotty is delighted that she didn't need her umbrella after all.

A delightful story, beautiful illustrations, bright and bold and I bet you can feel the raindrops as they fall. This is a story that bounces along with a lovely rhythm. A great book to read aloud and the kids are going to get the hang of those read out loud words really quickly. I don't know why it took me so long to notice it. Themes in the book surrounding kindness, sharing, friendship and appreciation. Miss Dott is one very cool lady and she is not afraid to give it a whirl "with a twist and a twirl" to an old gramophone on occasion.

This book was also the recipient of the Storylines Joy Cowley award in 2008. Other Michelle Osment books include the character Percy the Pukeko (a swamp bird). I like the one about crossing the road safely, a pukeko definitely needs to know how to do this (and perhaps a few children might as well). Beautifully illustrated, lovely to read aloud.

~Reviewed by Thyme

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Usborne Big Book of Holiday. Things to make and do.

In the tradition of all good Usborne books, you know, even before you open the cover, that this book is going to attractively set out with clear and concise information, and that you are going to pleasantly entertained, one way or the other. "The Usborne Big Book of Holiday Things to make and do" does not disapoint.
Not messing around, you dive straight from the title page to the first of many colorful pastel pages - the chapter index of all the marvelous arts and craft compiled within - Pirate treasure map pg 4, Collage fish pg 34, Painted plant pot pg 52, Mermaid Tiara pg 74….. the list of goes on - an even supply of classic gender favorites themes…. mermaids and pirates, fairies and farmyards etc,

You can tell that a lot of thought has gone into the planning of each of these activities. In fact because of the way each activity can be made fairly much on a shoestring, with lots of use of recycled and easily sourced materials, and seems to cater perfectly for young attention span's, you get the impression that the authors/creators of the this book may have had experience with teaching. You could just as easily see this being used as a teachers reference book for the class room, as you could a book for holiday or maybe children's party entertainment idea's. Each activity has been mapped out with clear precision - step by step by step, almost color by numbers. The odd's are high for a room of happy children having followed the formula, walking away with an piece of art, just like the one in the book.

As a child, this is just the sort of book that I would have picked up and had a go at. Being a bit of tomboy, I would have been equally as enticed to make the pirate sword as the fairy wings, and would have had a great time choosing what to do next. As an adult, I feel that this book offer's many great arts and craft skills and idea's and although quite prescribed, would allow for all levels of accomplishment, to achieve an artwork, while allowing those more adventurous, a great starting place, with clear instructions on techniques.

~ Reviewed by Aquilegia.