Jacob refused to eat his crusts.
His Mum said they would make his hair curly.
Jacob didn’t want curly hair.
She said they would make him sleep better.
he didn’t believe her.
His mum said it was a waste,
so Jacob saved them
in a box in the dark,
safe and cool in his shed.
Jacob doesn’t like crusts, and refuses to believe his mum when she says they are good for him. But when she says not eating them is wasteful, he decides to keep them, sure they will be useful for something. That something is surprising: a tiny, far away planet is falling apart. Pieces keep crumbling off. Three intrepid travellers head off, looking for help. When they find Jacob’s crusts, they are sure they have found their answer. But they are tiny aliens. The problems is how to communicate with Jacob and get him to figure out a way to get the crusts to their planet.
Crusts is a humorous, imaginative picture book offering which young crust-avoiders will love. With Jacob’s story and the aliens’ story delineated using separate illustration panels and distinct dialogue boxes for the aliens, the book has elements of a graphic novel blended with more traditional picture book style. Jacob doesn’t see the tiny aliens, so their means of getting across whay they need has to be visual – through diagrams and clever layout of his toys.
This is not the first time author Parker and illustrator Ottley have worked together for a satisfying picture book, and hopefully it won’t be the last.
Crusts, by Danny Parker & Matt Ottley
Molly thought Mae was silly and told her so.
Mae was tired of being bossed around.
Molly was angry and loud and rude.
Molly turned her back.
Molly and Mae are friends, embarking on a train journey. First they have a long wait for the train, but they play games, exchange secrets and eat together. Finally, they are on their way, and the train holds lots of adventures. But the journey grows long, and the girls quarrel. Not spekaing to each other, though, makes the journey tedious, and they build bridges to once again be best of friends.
Molly and Mae is a beautiful tale of friendship, with the highs and lows of a train journey being a wonderful metaphor for the journey a friendship can take, with togetherness, tension, obstacles and healing. The text is fittingly sparse, so that readers can fill the spaces for themselves, and also enjoy the sumptuous illustrations which capture both the emotions of the girls and the variety of life and passengers on the train. The girls are more brightly coloured than their fellow passengers, a touch which adds focus.
A beautiful picture book, to be treasured by all ages.
Molly and Mae, by Danny Parker & Freya Blackwood
Little Hare, 2016
‘This party must be for a very important toy,’ said Lola.
She was right. On the cake, written in sprinkles, it said:
Great High Bear!
Lola has a magic toy box. When she opens it and jumps inside, she is never quite sure where she will end up. This time it has taken Lola and her toy friend Buddy to the great High Bear’s castle, where his birthday party is just about to start. But Lola notices something suspicious about the cake.
Party at Cuddleton Castle is the sixth title in the Lola’s Toy Box series. There is enough backstory and explanation for readers new to the series to read this one, and fans of the earlier books will enjoy this new adventure.
Good sized font, full page illustrations in each chapter (by Guy Shield), and fast paced action make Party at Cuddleton Castle accessible for newly confident readers.
Party at Cuddleton Castle, by Danny Parker
Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016