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Summer

The Boy on the Beach
Written and illustrated by Niki Daly
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
Where better to spend a scorching summer’s day than the sandy beach, building castles, scrambling over rocks and frolicking in the waves. Forgetting his mother’s instructions to stay close by, a small boy wanders off across the sand where he discovers an abandoned boat. Suddenly he realises that mum and dad are nowhere in sight, but his temporary distress ends happily thanks to a kind lifeguard and a giant sized ice-cream.
  Niki Daly’s watercolour illustrations of Joe perfectly capture the joy small children exude on a sunny, sandy beach day and it is especially good to see such beautifully painted black characters.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Winnie at the Seaside
Korky Paul and Valerie Thomas
(Oxford University Press)
How better to spend a sizzling hot summer’s day than swimming in the sea? So thinks Winnie the Witch and off she flies with beach bag packed and Wilbur on her shoulder. Being anything but a lover of water, Wilbur is left guarding the gear while Winnie cools herself in the waves: waves that are coming ever closer … As always where Winnie is involved, total disaster is averted with a few timely swishes of her magic wand, leaving the rest of the sun-worshippers well and truly angry and dripping wet. Perhaps staying home is better after all – at least if you are Winnie and Wilbur.
   Those who are yet to make the acquaintance of this zany pair could well start here. As always there are visual jokes aplenty in the action-packed illustrations.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Melrose and Croc Beside the Sea
Emma Chichester Clark
(Collins)
We all have those occasional days when we wake up feeling slightly at odds with the world: Croc is just the same. Despite the fact that it’s a bright sunny day, Melrose’s best friend is in an uppity snappy mood and won’t even speak to him. Melrose engages him in a game of ‘guess what’ and slowly, slowly friendship wins him over and Croc reciprocates with some of his own questions. With its short, easy to read text this is a good book for children to read for themselves as well as for sharing with the very young.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Mayfly Day
by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross
(Andersen Press)
Mayfly lives for just one day: but in that day she truly lives each and every moment - savouring the golden glow of dawn, tasting the sweet honey of bursting buds, watching new life come into being, observing ants, children at play and feeling the sun’s warming rays and the gentle summer rain that precede a magical rainbow. She plays and dances her wedding dance to the sweet music of birds and bells. Then, enveloped in the peace of night, she lays her eggs, makes her final wish for her young and finally, bathed in the moon’s glow, gives thanks for her life.
  Here is the perfect book to encourage that attitude of ‘being in the present’ and of course, to develop that sense of awe and wonder at the natural world. Aimed at young readers, but with something to say to us all, Tony Ross’s glowing watercolours and Jeanne Willis’ poetic text combine to provide near perfection in a small package.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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The Very Greedy Bee
by Steve Smallman and Jack Tickle
(Little Tiger Press)
Think of summer days and what often comes to mind are those large bees buzzing somewhat dozily around. The particular meadow Greedy Bee finds is full of enormous flowers and, instead telling his fellow bees about it, he gorges himself until he’s so fat he cannot move. Night comes and our ‘stodgy podgy’ friend is lost and unable to fly. Luckily help is at hand in the shape of a pair of fireflies and some industrious ants who together, escort him safely home to his hive.
   Bright, bold cartoons humorously illustrate lessons about teamwork, cooperation and sharing, and the text with its onomatopoeia, occasional rhyme and alliteration make this a fun book to read aloud.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Honeybee’s Busy Day
by Richard Fowler
(Doubleday)
This ‘pop through the slot story’ allows readers and listeners to take Honeybee through a warm summer’s day as he gathers nectar to make into honey. He can be moved from flower to flower, visiting fields, a duck pond, a woodland area, and a garden, meeting some of the inhabitants of each place, then finally returning to his hive in the orchard.
Gorgeous, realistic illustrations of the summertime flora and fauna mean that Honeybee will need to stop at each turn of the page to allow his audience to take in the splendour of the surroundings. Great fun and lots of opportunities for natural history lessons.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Goat and Donkey in the Great Outdoors
by Simon Puttock and Russell Julian
(Oxford University Press)
Summer is the time for venturing into the Great Outdoors. When Goat announces that he’s off on a camping holiday, Donkey anticipates blissful peace and quiet so that he can enjoy reading his books. The trouble is Goat has some exacting requirements for his holiday destination and needs Donkey’s help to find the perfect spot – their very own back garden. But even that proves too quiet for Goat alone.
   The relationship between impetuous and hot-headed Goat and equable, dependable Donkey reminds me somewhat of Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad characters. The delightful duo also feature in a companion volume, Goat and Donkey in Strawberry Sunglasses.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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The Secret Cave
by Richard Hamilton, illustrated by Helen Lanzrein
(Orchard)
A boy and his father follow a pathway from the cliffs down to a deserted beach where they discover a hidden cave just waiting to be explored - first in Johnny’s imagination and then, with thumping heart and holding tight his Dad’s hand, in reality. Back home in his own bed that summer’s night, Johnny dreams of his wonderful day.
    Poetic words that really engage the reader combine with powerfully atmospheric visual images that assail the imagination to make this a truly memorable experience, not only for Johnny, but for readers and listeners too.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Mr Bear’s Holiday
by Debi Gliori
(Orchard)
After Small receives a holiday postcard from his friends, his family decide to go off on their own summer holiday - a camping holiday. With overflowing rucksack and various other items of luggage, they set out on a trip that proves to be anything but the carefree experience they had anticipated. Both words and watercolour illustrations are a delight, gentle understated humour being the characteristic of each. A very welcome re-issue, in a larger format, of one of the Mr Bear stories much loved by young listeners.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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One Magical Day
by Claire Freedman, illustrated by Tina Macnaughton
(Little Tiger Press)
As the dawn breaks, Little Fawn awakes to a glowing summer’s day - a day that celebrates new life and the arrival of summer, with gorgeous illustrations of irresistible ducklings, frisky lambs, piglets, puppies, foals and foxes to name but a few, all basking in the magical light of the sun through hours of the day and into the evening within idyllic background settings. The combination of glowing visual images with the short rhyming narrative, make this is a book that will instil a sense of awe and wonder in the natural world.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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One Magical Morning
by Claire Freedman, illustrated by Louise Ho
(Little Tiger Press)
This book provides another lyrical celebration of summer’s beauty by Claire Freedman (author of the book above). Here Little Bear and his mother share the joys of woodland creatures basking in the wondrous light of an early summer’s dawn.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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