The highly appealing
Great Galloping Galoot, by Stephanie Thatcher
(Scholastic), contains a sweet and simple story for
encouraging discussions about self-esteem and the importance
of believing in oneself.
Great Galloping Galoot is a giraffe who is ridiculed by his
community for being a clumsy fool, yet loved unconditionally
by his parents. But because he is always called a great
galloping galoot he has built up the strong belief that he is
Which is just as well because one day the jungle animals need
someone who is clever and brave enough to help them when
their bridge is swept away. The simple storyline of this book
is beautifully paired with endearing pencil and watercolour
illustrations. Suitable age: 2-6.
• Blue Gnu by Kyle Mewburn
and Daron Parton (Scholastic) is a rhythmic tale about a gnu
who wants to be the only one who's blue. Unfortunately, my
group of 4-year-olds were quite indifferent to this story,
most likely because of the repetitive nature of the language
throughout the book, which makes this story boring for older
So the opportunity can be lost for sharing and discussing the
important message about being different (whether through
birth or choice). Quaint illustrations by Daron Parton.
• The delightful Madison
Moon and the hot-air balloon by Chris Gurney and
Catherine Foreman (Scholastic) is full of silliness and fun,
a book my test group adored. Madison Moon becomes tired of
all the hustle and bustle of traffic as she drives around
town. So to escape the madness she buys a hot-air balloon and
begins travelling tranquilly in the sky.
Unfortunately her friends and acquaintances start buying
their own hot-air balloons and before she knows it the sky
becomes just as conjested as the roads.
This entertaining story contains fun, expressive language and
provides lots of opportunities for children to make links to
their own lives. Suitable age: 2-6 years.
• The Three
Little Pigs, a story and play by Roger Hall and Errol
McLeary (Scholastic) is about as politically incorrect as one
would expect. And while I truly support and actively
encourage children's involvement in dramatic play, these
three little pigs are called Tubby, Chubby and Bubby (which
is repeated constantly throughout the story and play - Hall
has obviously never had weight issues), so no decent parent
or place of education would be able to use this book.
Because not only can some very young children read and
understand meanings of written text but all children's
self-esteem and sense of worth (of themselves and others)
begins developing at a very young age, so why would an adult
purposely subject them to this?
Butterfly, a pop-up book of colour by Petr Horacek
(Walker Books), is a highly attractive, beautifully
illustrated book. And even though this story is aimed at
young children, my 4-year-olds were still mesmerised by the
vibrant colours, the dynamic nature of the simple pictures,
and the clever holes in the pages that link everything
together. They even enjoyed the giant pop-up butterfly on the
Children aged 1-4 years will adore this.
Paula Benson-Gamble is an early childhood