Jane Doonan on primary picture books

14th November 2003 at 00:00
The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig is a hearteningly subversive and funny retelling by Eugene Trivizas of the traditional Three Little Pigs story, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. A sturdy 10th-aniversary pop-up edition is published by Egmont Books (pound;14.99). There is a standard paperback at pound;5.99.

Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross (Andersen Press, pound;9.99), is an introduction to black humour and irony via the life cycles of frogs and butterflies. Neat idea, clever layout and luminous colour give form to the theme that love does not alter when it alteration finds.

John Burningham's Aldo (Red Fox, pound;5.99), addresses antisocial behaviour and caring for people's feelings, and engenders thoughtful discussion from pupils of Years 2 to 6. Aldo is a child-sized rabbit, the imaginary companion of a lonely little girl.

On a different scale is Tiny, by Paul Rogers, illustrated by Korky Paul (Red Fox, pound;5.99). Tiny, a flea, feels very small, but he takes comfort when looking at the stars that some are even tinier than he is. The book gives readers information by taking them in sequence from Tiny's position on a dog's back to the outer reaches of the galaxy. The intriguing pictorial details, unusual story structure and the concept of the universe (and our place in it) will stimulate much interest.

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