Five Minutes More – The Princess Who Could Not Choose and Two Brave Knights

‘Hello, I’m Faraway. Whose turn is it to tell a story today? Will it be Louisa? Will it be Florrie? Will it be Sam? Or will it be Georgie?’
‘It might be you, Faraway.’
‘Yes it might! Please will you stay, just for five minutes more?’

Based on a TV program, five furry friends take turns to tell stories from their patchwork quilt home. It’s Faraway’s turn to tell the story and he’s telling the story of The Princess Who Could Not Choose.’ The others help by acting it out, while one friend interjects with questions for clarification. In this story, Princess Dolores the Ditherer isn’t good at making decisions. Her father sends her two footmen to choose between. Dolores can’t decide and chooses them both. Choosing both proves a solution to some of her dilemmas until she encounters a situation where only one solution is possible. At the end of the story, the friends are again on the quilt, deciding what to do next.

In the second story, Two Brave Knights, it is Florrie’s turn to tell the tale. The others don appropriate costumes as townspeople, knights and a dragon The beautiful, tune-playing, perfect-time-keeping Elindrew clock has been stolen by a dragon. The townspeople call on the brave Sir Percival and Sir Ganymede to help retrieve their town treasure. Led by the dragon’s boasting song, the intrepid knights travel into the forest to find the dragon and retrieve the town clock. When the story is finished, the patchwork quilt friends decide to act out the story again, playing different roles.

This series, based on the TV program, was developed to foster a love of storytelling in children. The story-outside-the-story demonstrates how children can create or retell stories, using teddies and the like for characters. Photo-illustrations show characters both in costume and out. The stories are newly-created fairytales and suitable for preschool-age children in both content and length. Each is gentle and imaginative, with simple images and pastel pages. These hardback titles are smaller than a picture book, larger than a chapter book and will fit well into little hands. The cover of each title includes pictures of the five friends and a patchwork image of the story within. Panels on the patchwork quilt suggest other stories and could be used to encourage children into their own favourite or new stories. Recommended for 3-5 year olds.

Two Brave Knights (Five Minutes More S.)

Five Minutes More. The Princess Who Could Not Choose, by Jan Page and Mellie Buse
ABC Books 2007
ISBN: 9780733321382

Five Minutes More. Two Brave Knights, by Jan Page and Mellie Buse
ABC Books 2007
ISBN: 9780733321375

These books can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Five Minutes More, By Jan Page and Mellie Buse

It’s time for a story
For five minutes more.

Regular watches of ABC television’s children’s line-up will know the tune for the Five Minutes More series, and have seen the soft toy characters acting out their stories in the play room. Now two of the stories from the series are available in print format, in small hard cover books using still images direct from the show.

In Little Gnome, Louisa tells the story of a Fairy King and Queen who argue constantly about which of them is the most important, until a visiting gnome proves that he is important – and teaches them a lesson that perhaps everyone is important.

In Neptune’s Visit it is Georgie’s turn to tell the story, and she tells about an impending visit from King Neptune. The sea creatures are all busy preparing, practising their special skills to show the King – but Morva the mermaid is worried that she has no special ability. When she realises she has a beautiful singing voice, she also realises that everybody is good at something – even if some gifts are harder to see than others.

These two books, and the television series they are based on, attempt to focus on storytelling rather than special effects. They use the same group of characters to narrate and enact the stories, so that the focus is mainly on the story and its message. Children will enjoy seeing the television series in a book format and adults will enjoy the positive messages each story portrays.

Five Minutes More: Neptune’s Visit and Little Gnome Upon the Wall, by Jan Page and Mellie Buse
ABC Books, 2007

The Fairy Alphabet

A is for alphabet,
A leads on to B
B is for Barnaby,
the Bizzy Buzzy Bee

So begins this cutesy alphabet book, featuring the characters from ABC television’s The Fairies. With a combination of photography and full colour illustration, simple rhyming text and lots of sparkles, the book is aimed squarely at the under-fives, especially little girls.

Whilst the rhyming pattern is a little inconsistent – in the latter pages it almost disappears, with ‘bright’ rhymed with ‘ripe’ and ‘tot’ with ‘drops’ – the book is sure to sell well in the gift market and appeal to young fairy fanatics.

The Fairy Alphabet, The Fairies
ABC Books, 2007

Three New Wiggles Titles

The Wiggleshave been entertaining children for fifteen years and to celebrate this anniversary ABC Books have released three new Wiggles book titles for preschoolers.

The Wiggly birthday Fun Book is an A4 sized, sixty four page activity book filled with fun and educational activities. As well as colouring, cutting and pasting, there are early literacy and numeracy activities and stories to read.

Splish Splash Big Red Boat is a picture story book recounting The Wiggles’ day out aboard the Big Red Boat. featuring the Wiggles friends, including Dorothy Dinosaur and Wags the Dog and illustrated using colour photography and colour borders with bubble features, this is a visually appealing offering.

Wake Up, Jeff is a board book format offering, incorporating a built in plastic clock for children to learn basic time telling skills as they read the simple story of the Wiggles’ efforts to keep Jeff awake for their concert.

Whilst these are unashamedly merchandising tools rather than offerings of literature, they are sure to appeal to littlies from toddler to school age and do have some educational merit. My five year old loves the clock in Wake Up, Jeff and surprised me by accurately reading the kitchen clock at 10 o’clock one morning.

Plenty of Wiggly fun.

The Wiggly birthday Fun Book, Splish Splash Big Red Boat and Wake Up, Jeff
ABC Books, 2006