Where in the Wild

Jonny Lambert

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Jonny Lambert is going to be our September ‘Illustrator of the Month’ at school and was shortlisted last year in the NSTBA Picture Book Category with the lovely ‘Look Out, It’s a Dragon!’. Here at JAB HQ we are great fans of his lovely stories so we were delighted to be sent two new books by him this summer.

The first is ‘Let’s All Creep Through Crocodile Creek’. As the sun sets, Mouse suggests that he and his friends take the shortcut through the creek to get home. Rabbit is worried that this is where the crocodiles live, but Mouse declares he has never seen one so they set off.

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What follows is a fabulously funny journey through the creek over the lumpy, bumpy bridge, past the scritchy, scratchy thorns and through the dark green vines as Mouse describes the crocodiles. We see, as Rabbit does, that perhaps they should be looking more carefully at their surroundings!

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At last, Shelly has gathered all the answers he needs and makes his friends stop and listen to his worries, but Mouse still is not convinced and nearly leads them to disaster. However, never down for long, he decides that they will take a shortcut through the forest- but won’t there be tigers..?

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This delightful story is perfect for sharing! With plenty of crocodiles to spot as the animals go on their journey, the book offers plenty of opportunities for audience participation. The characters are wonderful: Mouse, bold, brave and perhaps a touch foolhardy, Shelly, thoughtful and questioning, gradually coming to a well considered conclusion and Rabbit, observant and cautious. The illustrations are just wonderful! Bright and bold, each page perfectly frames the animals as they make their perilous journey across the swamp, escape danger and pause before setting off again. Even the end papers tell the story with crocodile green at front and tiger stripe at the end! Fabulous!

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No less lovely, though very different, is ‘Where in the Wild’. This explores animal habitats, using cut through sections and explains the importance of saving these locations. With rhyming text by Poppy Bishop, the illustrations by Jonny show where the creature lives, for example, the wolf or the meerkat. The peep holes allow some animals to be shown in more than one habitat and there is additional text about these.

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Each spread is colourful and beautifully laid out with plenty to notice and discuss- including a challenge to find all the butterflies in the pictures. It is certainly a book that children will return to time and time again. The book ends with the reminder about all the damage that is being done to the environment and how important it is to preserve these habitats so ‘all animals can thrive’, encouraging the reader to play their part in this. An excellent book for engaging children and starting conversations about the wonders of our world and the need to protect it.

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Jonny’s wonderful collage style illustrations are always a joy and these two new titles are no exception!

Let’s All Creep Through Crocodile Creek

Little Tiger ISBN: 978-1788813983

Where in the Wild

Little Tiger ISBN: 978-1848699564

You can read our review of ‘Little Why’ here, ‘The Only Lonely Panda’ here , ‘Tiger, Tiger’ here and ‘Look Out, It’s a Dragon!’ here.