On my first day…
From dressing themselves, to eating breakfast, meeting new friends, counting, playing and even home time, My First Day at School takes youngsters through fairly typical things that happen on the first day of school. The use of a range of animal characters adds humour and interest. The character on the spread with the line “I dress myself”, for example, is a centipede, sporting brightly patterned socks on each of its numerous feet. Other spreads feature rabbits, dogs, owls, a rhino and more.
This use of the animal characters to illustrate what is very simple text does not remove it too far from children’s experience and the use of both familiar and less familiar animals – including a sloth, a puffin and a tapir (?) – creates room for discussion both about what is happening at school and about the animals themselves.
Perfect for a young child starting school, My First Day at School is a treasure from one of Australia’s bets loved creative teams in Bruce Whatley and Rosie Smith.
My First Day at School, by Rosie Smith & Bruce Whatley
My mum’s the best because she gives me big hugs…
This delightful hardback offering is perfect for bedtime or cuddletime reading with the very young. The minimal text explains that ‘my’ mum is the best because of the things she does every day – giving hugs, tucking in, feeding breakfast and so on. The illustrations show a range of animal babies with their mums doing these things – a bear cub being squashed in a big cuddle from his mum, a young fish being gently nudged into the school by mum, a frog dancing with mum and so on.
The design is also simple, with each spread offering text of just a few words on one page and the matching illustration on the other , with background colours in warm pastels and the animal characters gently colourful .
Simple yet beautiful, this would make a lovely gift for a newborn.
My Mum’s the Best, by Rosie Smith & Bruce Whatley
Scholastic Press, 2011
ISBN This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.
Danny’s Uncle Leo was an artist, an inventor and a scientist. An adventurer. He had been playing around with the idea of flying for years.
‘We could build a flying machine,’ said Danny.
Uncle Leo had a BIG grin on his face. He liked a challenge.
When the Duke of Milan announces that he wants to fly, local inventors set to work to make it happen. Danny da Vinci’s Uncle Leo is busy, so Danny and his friend Mick Angelo and his little sister Lisa set to work to figure out the best way to create a flying machine.
The Flying Machine of Lombardy is the second title in the Danny da Vinci series, which bring history to life with a twist. Whilst the story and characters are humorously fictionalised, the storyline and illustrations draw on the work of Leonardo da Vinci (Danny’s Uncle Leo), with a back of book spread exploring the factual elements of the story.
The use of the graphic novel format allows the story to use illustrations based on Leonardo da Vinci’s own sketches and artworks as an integral part of the story, and young readers will find the text accessible, and enjoy the use of colour illustrations throughout.
A collaboration between husband-wife duo Bruce Whatley and Rosie Smith, The Flying Machine of Lombardy is an excellent offering.
Danny da Vinci: The Flying Machine of Lombardy, by Bruce Whatley & Rosie Smith
ABC Books, 2008
This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.
Danny da Vinci always said he was born with a pencil in his hand. His mum thought it felt more like a broom!
From the moment Danny was born he drew pictures. Everywhere. Of all kinds of things. Not only with his right hand but with his left hand too.
Danny and his best friend Mick Angelo are apprentices, working in an art studio run by Danny’s Uncle Leo. Danny likes to draw and paint, Mick likes to carve and Danny’s dog, Picasso, likes eating paint, and slobbering on canvases in his sleep.
When Uncle Leo is asked to make a statue of the Duke of Milan, he calls on Danny and Mick for some help. The boys are excited to be given the opportunity but when a series of accidents befalls the statue, they wonder if it will be ready for the big unveiling.
Danny da Vinci: The Giant Horse of Milan is a fun new graphic novel for primary aged children, taking a humorous look at the life and times of Leonardo da Vinci. Using a combination of comic-style text boxes , colour images and da Vinci-style sketches, the story is a fictionalised, humorous account of the making of the Sforza Monument. Whilst history buffs will enjoy the plays on words and twisting of events, those without a knowledge of the great artist will also enjoy the story and the humour.
Lots of fun.
Danny da Vinci: The Giant Horse of Milan, by Bruce Whatley & Rosie Smith
ABC Books, 2007