Tuesday 23 April 2013

Children's Book Council Shortlist for Early Childhood Books 2013

The CBCA Early Childhood Shortlist for 2013 is:
The Terrible Suitcase by Emma Allen
With Nan by Tania Cox
The Pros & Cons of Being a Frog by Sue DeGennaro,
Too Many Elephants in this House by Andrew Joyner
It's a Miroocool! by Christine Harris
Peggy by Anna Walker

I have to confess that my response to this year's CBCA shortlist was a little on the ho-hum side.

I do like The Terrible Suitcase, but mainly because of Freya Blackwood's whimsical illustrations. I feel that the first day of school story has been recycled so many times that something different or special needs to be added to make it stand out from the crowd (that's where Blackwood's illustrations come into it I guess.)

With Nan is a simple story about a boy walking through the bush with his nan looking at how things can be disguised or camouflaged.

 (26 May 2013 - This week I read With Nan to my storytime group...and we all loved it. It was perfect for 2-3 year olds. The simple text was well supported by the illustrations. At the end the children enjoyed going back to spot the hidden creature on each page.)

The Pros and Cons of Being a Frog took a humorous look at friendship and being different.
I loved the illustrations and font choices too. This is a quirky tale that fits in to the school curriculum themes of belonging and identity. This is probably may favourite book from the list.

Too Many Elephants is a fun read aloud story for younger readers (and the only one I've had a chance to read aloud to a group so far).
They enjoyed the visual impossibilities and the simple text. But Andrew Joyner's illustrations didn't really capture my imagination (or the group of young children I read the book to.)

It's a Miroocool introduces younger readers to a version of Audrey from Audrey of the Outback (an early reader chapter book that has been available for a number of years now.) Audrey is making all sorts of plans for the tooth fairy's visit in this picture book. There was something about the grinning Audrey that put me off this book from the start.

Peggy is a sweet chicken story about wet, windy weather and the adventures that can happen to a chicken along the way. Being lost in the big city and finding one's way home again - are important themes and fears in the life of a young child. The lovely water colour illustrations add a calmness to this adventure story that makes for a perfect bedtime story.

(15 May 2013 - I have now read Peggy to a couple of groups of children to great success. Peggy's quirky habits were thoroughly enjoyed by young and old alike. The illustrations were praised and poured over. Now that I've spent more time with the list, Peggy has become my favourite nominee.)

I realise that I've been a little down on all the nominees this year. The list seems to lack a little sparkle to my mind.

I've only had the chance to read one of the stories to a small group of children therefore my opinion may change.

It always amazes me how some books can suddenly blossom as soon as you read it out loud to an audience. Like the secret, hidden ingredient missing from it all along was...children!

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