Stories For Reading Out Loud

the-tale-of-kitty-in-boots

the-tale-of-kitty-in-bootsThe Tale of Kitty-In-Boots

At night time Kitty-in-Boots jumps out of the window and gets up to all kinds of nasty tricks. The kind old lady who owns her has no idea that her beloved and well behaved pet leads a double life.

Kitted out in hunting gear and armed with an airgun, she acts out her dream of becoming a poacher. But the tables are turned when she is trapped by wily Mr Fox. Escape seems impossible!

Beatrix Potter had already passed away a hundred years before the manuscript for this new story was discovered. Too late for her to add her own inimitable illustrations so the manuscript was sent to Quentin Blake (born 1932) famous especially for illustrating Roald Dahl stories.

He loved it immediately as it was full of incident, mischief and character. The end result: a book in which his delightful and quirky illustrations compliment this witty tale with its dark undertones beautifully.

On our bookshelf lives a tattered old copy of one of Beatrix Potter’s little books. It was a favourite bedtime story of my partner John and he pencilled his name on the front page in spindly childish writing. The cover has come off and the binding has fallen apart. But it is too precious to throw out.

Kitty in Boots brings back happy nostalgic childhood memories for him as it will do for many other grandparents, especially as Peter Rabbit makes a cameo appearance.

And this new Beatrix Potter tale, full of suspense and wry humour, is also sure to delight grandchildren.

Title: The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, Author: Beatrix Potter. Imprint: Warne RRP: $32.00

freddy-bear-and-new-facesFreddy Bear and Blanky

Grandma Bear is being very unkind in Joy Cowley’s Freddy Bear and Blanky.

“It’s a filthy rag!” she declares and won’t let Freddy bring his security blanket to the table for lunch. It’s enough to make his mouth wobble and his eyes dribble.

Perhaps Joyce Cowley was inspired when writing this story by the mean Grandma in Charles Schultz’s comic strip, Peanuts. She hated Linus’s blanket and always tried to hide it. Lucy’s psychiatrist tactics to wean him off it and Snoopy’s attempts to steal it were also unsuccessful. It took over three decades before Charles Schultz decided enough was enough and Linus finally let it go.

Freddie Bear and Blanky is a simpler and shorter story as befits its target audience (6 months to 3 years).

Mummy Bear begs Grandma Bear to change her mind as Freddy loves his Blanky and if it’s not with him he gets sad and cranky. Although Grandma Bear sniffs ungraciously she does give in and lets Blanky come to the lunch table.

Blanky unfortunately gets left behind at Grandma Bear’s house. She seizes the opportunity and puts it in the washing machine.

When they go back to retrieve Blanky has lost its familiar smell and is too wet to cuddle and hug. Freddy tries to be brave but it no longer feels like the old Blanky. However as time goes by, as in all good picture books for littlies, there is a satisfying ending.

It’s a sturdy little board book so littlies can play with it and practice turning the pages. And the simple rhymes and the whimsical illustrations by Phillip Webb are sure to delight. It’s also a cautionary tale for Grandmas!

Title: Freddy Bear and Blanky Author: Joy Cowley. Illustrated by Phillip Webb .Publisher: Upstart Press RRP: $14.99

who-sank-the-boat-and-other-storiesWho Sank the Boat and Other Stories

Who Sank the Boat deserves its first place in a new anthology of Pamela Allan’s work.

I have read it countless times to several generations of children and all have loved it.

A group of friends, a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig and a tiny mouse decide to go for a boat ride across the harbour. The boat is far too small for a safe journey so inevitably disaster looms.

As each one jumps in it comes closer and closer to sinking. Children have to guess which animal will be the one who finally sinks it. There is an unlikely culprit!

Pamela Allan was born in 1934 in Devonport. She is a prolific story writer who has won numerous awards and had over 50 picture books published since 1980.Sales of her books have exceeded 5 million copies. Choosing just nine stories for this anthology must have been difficult.

The story of Belinda is included. It’s a very amusing tale of how her old man has to resort to cross dressing to persuade their cow to give milk.

Also there is Brown Bread and Honey, a moral fable in which a gluttonous King gets very ill. However he has the good fortune to meet a stable boy who saves his life and helps him to adopt a healthier diet.

And the story of Grandpa and Thomas who head off for a day at the beach together is a soothing bedtime story for the very young.

This is a large book which will keep grandchildren amused for quite some time! They will love the witty stories, the rhythm and rhymes and the comical illustrations

Title: Who Sank the Boat and Other Stories. Author: Pamela Allen Imprint: Picture Puffin RRP: $45.00

By Lyn Potter. Read more here.