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Whoops! by Suzi Moore; illustrated by Russell Ayto (2015)

[Published by Templar]

whoops-

The out-loud-reading-speed-test is a wee invention of mine, that gives a fairly accurate indication of how fun a picture book is to read aloud. It’s pretty scientific/mathematical, so I won’t bore you with all the formulae, but, in simple terms, if I find myself reading a book really fast by the end, it means it’s a winner.

As I trial-read Whoops! to my husband while he cooked dinner, I accelerated to such speeds, he nearly lost his eyebrows. A definite A+ on that test paper.IMG_1913

“This is the cat
who didn’t know how,
she didn’t know
how to say MEOW.”

It’s not just the cat with vocalisation issues, her friends dog and mouse are also decidedly voiceless. The owl recommends a visit to the old lady at the tumbledown house who will have just the spell for the silent trio.

“She went to look at her big spell book.
She cast a spell but the whole house shook.
Then the wind blew in.
And the rain came down.
And the tumbledown house
turned round and round.”

Her first attempts at spell casting are not hugely successful, so the whole process is repeated… several times. Finally everything is right with the world again, the cat miaows, the dog barks and the mouse squeaks. And the little old lady? Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out what happens to her!

A whole bunch of fun in a very stylish package.

Check out Whoops! at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Whoops! from Fishpond.

[Recommended by Pranita – thanks Pranita, excellent taste as always!]

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Abracazebra by Helen Docherty; illustrated by Thomas Docherty (2015)

[Published by Alison Green Books] 

abracazebraIn a battle between a zebra with a back-catalogue of magic tricks and a grumpy old goat, it’s hard to imagine the goat coming out as the victor. But in today’s clever picture book that’s sort of exactly what happens.

In the sleepy town of Yawnalot, the only source of entertainment is old Goat who regularly patches the holes on his fishing boat. This changes when a stranger arrives on a be-flowered bicycle, towing a caravan of excitement. All of a sudden the town is transformed by “The Abracazebra Magic Show”. From creating gigantic beanstalks to unleashing clouds of fluttering butterflies, this is a zebra with some mad skills. The only animal not having a great time is old Goat, “They think she’s clever, with all her tricks, But I’ve got important things to fix!”2015-02-21 12.25.46

When it looks like Abracazebra might make Yawnalot her permanent home, Goat starts a smear campaign, suggesting quietly to her neighbours that animals with stripes can not be trusted. It culminates in a sign appearing, “NO STRIPES ALLOWED”. Not surprisingly in the middle of the night Abracazebra packs up and leaves.

In good news, this is followed by major Goat-angst, a high-speed boat chase and much grovelling of a haedine variety. Magical good-times are returned to Yawnalot, “Now Yawnalot is a happier place, Where they welcome any kind of face.”

Each page in this wonderful book is overflowing with lovely illustrative detail. Who knew a zebra could look so forlorn? The rhyming text is a pleasure to read out-loud and the message of acceptance lends itself to all sorts of interesting conversations. An excellent choice with which to celebrate the Year of the Goat.

Check out Abracazebra at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Abracazebra from Fishpond.