3rd June 2005 at 01:00
THE GOLDEN RULES SERIES. By Donna Luck and Juliet Doyle. Positive Press. Pounds 5.99 each

Jenny Mosley's golden rules are used, sometimes in an adapted form, in thousands of early years and primary settings. They have the advantage of being easy to remember and to understand.

To exemplify these rules her company, Positive Press, has produced six story books "to help children love each golden rule as they follow the antics of Miss Beanie and her class of loveable animals".

Miss Beanie and her class of animals are certainly jolly, but does anyone love rules? To me there's something faintly Orwellian about the concept.

Resolutely positive from the titles (for example, We Are Honest - We Don't Cover Up The Truth) to the outcomes, each story features loveable animals flouting a particular rule and nearly getting their comeuppance before the ever-so-kind Miss Beanie sorts things out.

The books aim to reinforce the message that good things come from following the golden rule.

The illustrations are appealing: strikingly simple, bright and colourful, and the books are attractively designed.

The text is fine for an adult reading aloud to a group and has some nice repetitive patterns and classic storytelling prompts to involve the children ("Do you know what she did?"). But children reading it themselves may find it a little too wordy, with rather small print.

Kevin Harcombe

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