Saturday, August 1, 2009

Children's Authors - Giles Andreae

Another fun children's author for this week - Giles Andreae. We have a number of his books, all in rhyme and we love them.

In a number of books he teamed up with illustrator David Wojtowycz. Many of them use simple rhymes to describe animals.

So Cock-a-doodle-doo! Farmyard Hullabaloo has verses like:

Sometimes I moo while I'm chewing
I hope you don't think that it's rude,
But mooing and chewing are what I like doing.
Do you moo when you chew your food?

And in Commotion in the Ocean, you read:
The crab likes walking sideways
and I think the reason why,
is to make himself look sneaky
And pretend that he's a spy.

I swim with a grin up to greet you,
See how my jaws open wide,
Why don't you come a bit closer?
Please, take a good look inside...

And in Rumble in the Jungle, there are fun verses such as:

The ravenous rhino
Is big, strong and tough,
But his skin is all baggy and flappy,
Which means that there's plenty
Of room for his lunch,
And that makes him terribly happy.

Other books have a story to go with them, such as The Lion who Wanted to Love, the story of Leo the Lion who wanted to make friends with animals rather than eat them:
Deep in the African heartland
Way out on the hot sunny plains,
There lived a small lion who didn't fit in
And Leo was this lion's name

Now lions are usually fierce
And lions are meant to be strong,
But Leo just wanted to love everybody
And play with his friends all day long

Another story (this time with illustrator Guy Parker-Rees) which I love is Giraffes Can't Dance.

This story of Gerald the clumsy giraffe and how he cannot dance with all the animals is just lovely and the ending is great, where he discovers he can dance after all, just to different music. It is bound to appeal to children who also feel left out when they can't do things either. The illustrations are lovely and the rhyming verses are lots of fun.
Now every year in Africa
They hold the Jungle Dance
Where every single animal
Turns up to skip and prance.

And this year when the day arrived
Poor Gerald felt so sad
Because when it came to dancing
He was really very bad.

The final story one we have is The Magic Donkey Ride (illustrated by Vanessa Cabban) - the story of a little boy Flinny getting to ride a magic donkey through the sky.
He ran into the meadow
And he came to Treacle's side
Treacle said, "I'm going to take you
On a magic donkey ride!

Please take off my saddle
It's the heavieset of things."
"I don't believe it!" Flinny shouted,
"Treacle, YOU'VE GOT WINGS!"

Lastly, but I think one of the best is There's a House inside my Mummy. This book (also illustrated by Vanessa Cabban) is one of the best books I have come across for children (aged 1-4ish) to talk about the impending arrival of a new brother or sister, with some realistic observations about how Mummy feels too. When I was pregnant with #3, Mr 4 and Miss 2 wanted me to read this to them almost daily:

There's a house inside my Mummy
Where my little brother grows
Or maybe it's my little sister
No-one really knows...

Sometimes Mummy feels so sick
I don't know what to do,
But if I had a house in me
I'd feel quite poorly too...

I just can't wait to meet him
I hope that he's alright
My Daddy says be patient
As his door is rather tight.

My only sadness with this book is there is no need for me to read it anymore!

As you can probably tell, we love these books. If you have any children near you aged 1-4, buy them some of these, and have lots of fun reading to them.


Anonymous said...

Hello, the Shark poem should read "See how my jaws open wide" Not wise?

My 7 year old daughter just read this in school today.


Wendy said...

Thanks Brad!