Muddle and Mo by Nikki Slade Robinson (2015)

[Published by Duck Creek Press]

muddleI love the conversations I have with my four-year-old nephew Jacob. He’s highly entertaining and asks me ridiculous questions which I take great pleasure in answering in kind. His latest gag, which he finds hilarious, is to call me Uncle Lucy and my husband Auntie John. Reading Muddle and Mo felt a little like having a conversation with Jacob.

Muddle, a small duck, voices some concerns to her best friend Mo (the goat), regarding Mo’s decidedly un-duck-like appearance. Mo, Muddle explains, is the wrong colour for a duck, eats the wrong things and in my favourite line, claims “Your wings are on your head.” Mo is very patient and when the truth comes out is there to lend a goaty shoulder to lean on.IMG_1592

Told with minimal text, featuring delightfully animated characters, your audience of preschoolers will have a ball.

Check out Muddle and Mo at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Muddle and Mo from Fishpond.


Aunt Ellie’s beach house by Raewyn Caisley; illustrated by Lisa Allen (2014)

[Published by Duck Creek Press]

ellieBeach holidays were an essential part of my summer holidays as a child, and this beautiful New Zealand picture book sent me on a merrily nostalgic journey.

Leyla visits her aunt’s beach house every summer. She loves everything about her time there, from being able to run around like a wild thing, to falling asleep to the hiss and crash of the waves.

But one night she hears her aunt say something terrible, “I’m going to sell the place,” Auntie Ellie said. “The city’s moving too close. I need to find somewhere else.”

It feels like the worst thing in the world to Leyla. She tries really hard to follow her mother’s advice and notIMG_1534 make her final memories sad ones, but on the last night she just wants to leave. The moon draws them down to the beach where the beauty of the place heals the hurt. “Suddenly Leyla’s heart felt as light and bubbly as foam.”

The final page shows us that change can be okay. The illustrations, particularly the night-scenes are magical, and the language bursts with all sorts of lovely features, like “sucking sand” and “scrunchy, crunchy shells.”

The exploration of loss and change is gentle and reassuring. A wonderful book to share in the classroom.

[No longer available at Auckland Libraries of Fishpond! You’ll have to use some tracking down skills for this one.]