Louise Greig

NSTBA PICTURE BOOK CATEGORY LONG LIST part 3

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With so many wonderful picture books available, this category cause the most debate. Here are the next five on the list…

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Deliciously silly from the first page, ‘I am a Tiger’ sees a mouse boldly proclaiming that it is, in fact, a tiger. Other animals are taken aback by this bold claim and try to disprove it. However, Mouse, brimming with confidence and conviction, manages to rebuff their claims until a genuine tiger appears. Completely unfazed by this arrival, Mouse simply tells the tiger that it is the mouse and then uses its own brand of logic to identify each of the other creatures. The ending opens the possibility for another Mouse story.

The illustrations are bold, using strong colours for the backgrounds and the bemused expressions of the animals and the confidence of the mouse are just wonderful.Even the end papers join in the fun with Mouse cheekily peeking round tiger strips at the beginning and through a hole in cheese at the end before setting the reader wondering again with the final illustration. Perfect for story time, ‘I am a Tiger’ will have everyone laughing and making up stories! Brilliant and beautiful!

I am a Tiger Karl Newson, illustrated by Ross Collins

Macmillan ISBN: 978-1509855155

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Matisse’s beautiful art work goes unnoticed until he finds a place full of eager eyes which notice his creations- a playground.The children wonder at Matisse’s art and are inspired to create their own. A wonderful way to introduce children to the work of Henri Matisse and particularly ‘The Snail’, ‘Matisse’s Magical Trail’ lends itself beautifully to celebrating creativity, the joys of close observation and noticing the little things around us. Matisse’s work inspires the children to transform their environment, bringing joy to others along the way.

The illustrations are fabulous, working perfectly with the text to produce an inspirational, artistic story!

Matisse's Magical Trail Tom Hopgood, illustrated by Sam Boughton

OUP ISBN: 978-0192767264

You can read another review of this here.

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Inspired by the story of a rougheye rock fish caught off the coast of Alaska, ‘Alba the Hundred Year Old Fish’ is a tale of the change in our oceans, particularly coral reefs, and how the actions of just one determined person can make great change. Alba loves to collect beautiful objects which she would gather around her home. However, as the years passed, the number of beautiful objects she could find grew less whilst the amount of strange, unfriendly things in the ocean grew. Finding herself trapped inside a plastic bottle, Alba is washed up on the beach where fortunately, she is found by a little girl who rescues Alba and leads a campaign to clear up the mess.

Clearly showing how the actions of an individual can make all the difference, this is a wonderful story for discussing the problems for wildlife caused by rubbish and pollution. A ‘Did you spot..?’ section at the back encourages children to locate and identify different creatures found on coral reefs, introducing them to these wonderful creatures. A final note also suggests ways of looking after our oceans. The pictures also identify a whole range of alien objects which have found their way to Alba’s home, ruining its beauty and creating hazards for the creatures that live there. A strong message through a lovely story.

Alba the Hundred Year Old Fish Lara Hawthorne

Big Picture Press ISBN: 978-1787412927

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When a stranger arrives with only a suitcase, everyone is full of questions, particularly when he tells them what his case contains. Suspicious, they force the case open whilst he is asleep and discover the real contents. When the stranger awakes, he finds they have tried to make amends.

Beautiful, poignant and profound, ‘The Suitcase’ reminds us all of the importance of being kind and thoughtful, about standing up to the negative ideas of others and of welcoming ‘strangers’ and making them friends. It is all the more powerful for its simplicity and is a must read in every classroom and home.

The Suitcase Chris Naylor-Ballestros

Nosy Crow ISBN: 978-1788004473

You can read another review of this here.

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Liesel lives above the bustling city, watching the busy people below. In a magical pause between tick and tock, Liesel stops time and gets to work, spreading happiness through good deeds across the city. These little acts of kindness have a big impact when the city rumbles back into life.

The importance of taking time, of noticing and of offering a helping hand are celebrated in this beautiful book. Liesel reminds us that there is always a moment to help, to change things, to make life a little better for others and so enrich ourselves. The illustrations are striking with splashes of colour highlighting the places Liesel helps against the muted colours of the city. A wonderful book for sharing, discussing and inspiring random acts of kindness.

Between Tick and Tock Louise Greig, illustrated by Ashling Lindsay

Egmont ISBN: 978-1405286596

You can read another review of this here.

Between Tick and Tock

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What would you do if you could stop time? If there was a space between tick and tock, how would you fill it? Everyone always seems to be in such a hurry that there’s never any time to see the little moments. The grey city streets are certainly too busy to notice. But if the hands of time could be stopped and everything shuddered to a halt, the whole world might come to a standstill. What a wonderful thing that would be.

Liesel does have the ability to pause the clock and stop time. She watches the busy world rush by and knows when it’s time to briefly stop the clock. Where there once was frenzy, everything is now frozen in time. She uses the paused moments to make the dull grey city glow with pretty colours. And whilst the clock appears to be holding its breath, Liesel skips through the stillness, making magic happen. Quarrels are mended, baby birds are lifted to safety and library books are returned on time!

It isn’t long before the clock calls Liesal back; the city and its inhabitants cannot remain permanently frozen in time. The ticks and tocks soon return and everything is as it once was. The city splutters back to life, and thanks to Liesal’s kindness, it is all the better for her watchful care.

‘Between Tick and Tock’ is a lyrical tale of what it would be like to stop the clock and fill the moments of time with little acts of kindness. This is a book full of subtle inference and wonderful opportunities for discussion. It is the second picture book by Louise Greig and Ashling Lindsay, the first being ‘The Night Box’. Greig’s experience as a poet is evident in this book by her clever use of language and Lindsay’s colourful, simple illustrations really bring the story to life. 

In the classroom, this book could be used to start a series of ‘what if you could stop time’ short stories. Scenarios from the text could be used to inspire free writing e.g. ‘Two ladies in hats stand like statues…’ or ‘The silent city wears a frown…’. Writers could use their senses to write about the city when it stops: what can they see, hear, smell, taste and feel. They could also write from memory about something they have experienced, imagining what it would be like to stop the clock- a birthday party, a ride on a train or a trip to the supermarket.

Between Tick and Tock  by Louise Greig, illustrated by Ashling Lindsay

Egmont ISBN: 978-1405286596

Sweep

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Ed’s bad mood started as ‘something small…really small, hardly a thing at all.’ As it grows, he relentlessly sweeps the leaves in front of him, oblivious to the destruction and chaos he is causing. Fortunately, a change comes, clearing the air and allowing Ed to look up once more and enjoy the beauty of the world around him.

Understanding our emotions is so important. Sometimes feelings can overwhelm us and are difficult to control. ‘Sweep’ offers an excellent way of starting conversations about emotions.

The illustrations are delightful. Full of colour and detail, there is also plenty of humour. You can follow the adventures of the cat and dog that can be found in each picture. The characters’ expressions are great, offering plenty to discuss.

The pictures also celebrate lots of pleasurable things to do- things which Ed could engage with if his bad mood wasn’t clouding his judgement and limiting his choices. The joy of being lifted by looking up, noticing the beauty around him and banishing the bad mood is perfectly captured by the kite flying at the end.

Sweep Louise Greig, illustrated by Julia Sarda

Egmont ISBN: 978-1405283779