Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Sharing and Caring with Picture Books

A number of years ago I fell in love with Wendy (the adventure seeking chicken) then Herman and Rosie (the lonely, jazz loving New Yorkers). I loved the quirky humour and the sophisticated style that Australian author/illustrator Gus Gordon injected into every page, although I wasn't sure how well the stories would work with actual children. Which is a slight, although not insurmountable, flaw in a children's picture book! The Last Peach reminds me a little of those first loves, but with bugs! And with more accessible themes for children.

I loved the appropriate little French notes tucked into the collages. The snappy dialogue story had me chuckling away from the beginning. My heart swooned when one of the bugs recited a poem for the peach. Layered into the story are themes on problem solving, how to share, who to believe, generosity, beauty and perception.

As an added bonus, Gordon has created gorgeous peachy end papers to drool over.

I almost wish that I was still preschool teaching so that I could try this book out on a group of four year olds!

Another funny book about sharing on our shelves at work at the moment comes from UK based author/illustrator Anuska Allepuz.

That Fruit is Mine! features five elephants who are determined to get to the 'MOST delicious-looking exotic fruit that the elephants had ever seen.'

However it takes five equally determined but cooperative mice to show them how it's done. The value of friendship, team work and persistence shines through here. The can-do attitude of the mice and the elephants contrasts nicely with the more creative, philosophical bugs above.

These two books are the perfect combo for that sharing-impaired person in your life!

Other books about sharing and cooperation include:

Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson
This Is Our House by Michael Rosen
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Little Red Hen

I deliberately did not include The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister in this list because even though sharing his beautiful shiny scales appears to main the theme, I really struggle with the underlying theme that seems to assume that all the fish will be happier if they're all exactly the same with their drab colours where no-one gets to shine or have special talents.

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