Lily the Elf: The Wishing Seed & The Elf Flute, by Anna Brandford, illustrated by Lisa Coutts

The Wishing Seed (Lily the Elf)
Lily hugs the seed tightly. Then she whispers into the fluff.
Lovely dandelion seed
(not a pest and not a weed),
grant my wish
with super-speed,
a princess crown
is what I need!

Lily’s dress up crown is broken and tattered. She dreams of having a sparkly, unbroken princess crown. So, when a dandelion wish seed floats by, she knows what to do. She makes the wish and waits impatiently for it to come true. But nothing happens. Her wise dad and granny tell her that sometimes fixing things is better than wishing things, but Lily isn’t convinced – until both adults help her to fix her crown into something very special.

The Elf Flute (Lily the Elf)
First, she holds the flute sideways. Next, she wiggles her fingers over the holes. Then she blows over the big hole at the top.
She waits for lovely music to fill the room. But there is only a whiffling sound.

When Lily is given a brand new elf flute, she decides she will play it at the Grand Elf Concert, rather than recite the poem she has written. But learning to play the flute is harder than she thought. Will she master it in time for the concert?

The Wishing Seed and The Elf Flute are two new titles in the delightful Lily the Elf series. Each self-contained chapter book features Lily and her family – her father and her granny. Lily tackles problems which are a charming blend of elfish and human problems – wanting or wishing for something, mastering a new skill, appreciating individual talents and so on.

Black and white illustrations on most spreads, simple sentence structures and large font make these titles suitable for emergent readers, but accessibility has not compromised the story quality.

A lovely pair.

The Wishing Seed (ISBN 9781925081060)
The Elf Flute (ISBN 9781925081077)
both by Anna Brandford & Lisa Coutts (ill)
Walker Books, 2015

Lily the Elf: The Midnight Owl & The Precious Ring, by Anna Branford, illustrated by Lisa Coutts

The Precious Ring (Lily the Elf)an owl is hooting.
Lily shivers with each hoot.
“Who’s awake? Who? Whoooo?” asks the midnight owl.
Lily covers her ears with her pillow.

Lile the Elf can’t sleep. SOmehwere nearby an owl is hooting. It sounds scary. In the mroning, though, Granny tells her that the owl sounds friendly. She wants to take Lily to meet him. But Lily doesn’t think she can be as brave as granny, until, with Granny’s help, she finds her own strength and makes a new friend.

The Midnight Owl is one of the new Lily the Elf series from author Anna Branford and illustrator Lisa Coutts, and is warm tale of bravery, friendship and the bond between a grandchild and grandparent.

In the second book, The Precious Ring , Lily finds a human ring in the garden near her home. Filled with water, it is just right for a paddling pool for Lily to play with. But when she realises that the ring is a much-loved possession which a human child has lost, she has to decide whetehr to keep her pool, or work to get it back to its rightful owner.

Both stories use simplle, but interesting text, with lots of illustrative support, perfect for young readers transitioning from first readers to the chapter book format. Lily is a loveable, honest and quirky character, and the relationship between her and Granny, with Dad playing a supporting role, is lovely.

The Midnight Owl ISBN: 9781925081053
The Precious Ring ISBN: 9781925081046
both by Anna Branford, illustrated by Lisa Coutts
Walker Books 2015

Buttonhead's Day at the Farm, by Lisa Coutts

Buttonhead is Ibis Publishing’s newest character, with two books just released and more yet to come. In Buttonhead’s Day at the Farm, Buttonhead visits Farmer Jo and feeds the farm animals.

Each double paged spread includes a flap for young readers to lift, with the opportunity to guess which animal Buttonhead is about to feed. The text is simple, with the question Who is Buttonhead feeding? repeated on every spread but the first and the last single page. Because of this simplicity and the bright, uncluttered illustrations, the book is likely to appeal to the very young – children aged two to four – who will enjoy the novelty of predicting the animals and opening the flaps.

The book includes reading and teaching suggestions on the back cover, as well as activities on the Ibis website.

A cute offering for littlies.

Buttonhead’s Day on the Farm, by Lisa Coutts
Ibis Publishing, 2004

Buttonhead and the Naughty Puppy, by Lisa Coutts

When Buttonhead is asked to look after Achoo’s new puppy, he thinks it will be easy. He soon finds out that it isn’t. Puppy chose his slippers, digs up his garden and plays in the mud. When Achoo comes to pick up the puppy, what will Buttonhead tell him?

Buttonhead and the Naughty Puppy is one of two books featuring this new character, from new Australian publisher, Ibis. These are simple books with bright illustrations by author/illustrator Lisa Coutts.

A feature is the inclusion of notes for parents on the back cover and activties on the Ibis website. This simple book will appeal to youngsters aged 2-5.

Buttonhead and the Naughty Puppy, by Lisa Coutts
Ibis Publishing, 2004