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Animal magic

Readers review educational stories for foundation and key stage 1.Mother Goose's Nursery Rhymes and How She Came to Tell Them. Alison Green. Illustrations by Axel Scheffler. Macmillan pound;14.99

The Elephant's Child. Rudyard Kipling. Illustrations by Geoffrey Patterson. Frances Lincoln pound;11.99

Mother Goose's Nursery Rhymes

This book of nursery rhymes has a slightly different slant - traditional poems embedded in a continuous narrative about Mother Goose and her three mischievous goslings.

The Mother Goose of the title is a very down-to-earth English bird given to delivering pearls of wisdom to her three wayward offspring: perhaps with today's obesity issues at the forefront of her mind, "You'll get very fat ... if you don't run around".

The witty illustrations are a delight. Axel Scheffler's attention to detail dovetails with Alison Green's lively text. This is a book designed to be read aloud and the pictures pored over. The narrative, interspersed with traditional rhymes and songs, works well and should carry the young listener along. A great addition to the book corner at Foundation Stage, or to the family bookshelf.

Rosemary Ham is a governor at the RGS Worcester and The Alice Ottley School

The Elephant's Child

Telling the story of how the elephant got his trunk, a much-loved classic tale from the Just So Stories, we journey with the Elephant Child from Graham's Town to the banks of the great-green, greasy Limpopo River. However, the trek is not without challenges for a lone Elephant Child, who is forced to venture through deepest Africa to satisfy his insatiable curiosity. Many readers may see this as a chance for him to escape the incessant spankings he suffered at home for simply asking questions of his elders.

As found in all children with an independent streak, leaving home at an early age develops greater understanding of the world at large and the Elephant Child returns to the homestead older, wiser and no longer prepared to be pushed around.

Geoffrey Patterson's illustrations enable even the youngest of readers to enjoy the story

Barbara Brown teaches at Hindley Green Community Primary School, Wigan.

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