'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 1 November 2013

Review: Ant and Bee Books

Ant and Bee are good friends. They love and live life with much gusto--much like kids. And like kids, they become enchanted with the simplest of life's blessings.

Take the rainbow.

One day, Ant and Bee see a rainbow. Ant wishes he could play with the rainbow (I know how he feels!), but practical Bee says that's not possible. Maybe, instead, they could play with a make-believe rainbow.

The two set to finding items they can use to construct their play toy.

An old rubber tyre, half-buried in the ground, makes the perfect arch. Some pots of colour, and the two can get to work on creating the colours of the rainbow.

First red then yellow then blue. But wait--that's not quite a rainbow! A real rainbow doesn't appear until the two friends, swinging joyfully from the tyre, knock over the paint tins--and something magical happens. Blue mixes with yellow and becomes green. Red and yellow make orange. Blue and red make violet--all the colours of the rainbow.

This is a delightful, creative story that's been well really well-written for the very young. The language used, the mild chaos in the storyline and the antics of Bee and Ant make for an endearing tale kids will truly adore.

The small format style of the Ant and Bee books fit snugly in little hands and the bright illustrations are both whimsical and age-ideal.

The books make for excellent readers, too. The text is slightly high for a picture book, and is designed to encourage word-learning, with read-aloud parts in coloured typeface. Some words are also replaced by silhouetted images, making for a fun and creative read. These could be used in both a one-on-one and group setting.

The other books in the series, all released this November, include Around the World with Ant and Bee, where the duo skip off on a world tour, enjoying the delightful and varied cultures of other places, and Happy Birthday with Ant and Bee, where the friends organise a party for Kind Dog. I particularly love this latter book for its pages packed with busy image--something kids take much delight in. 

Title: Ant and Bee and the Rainbow / Around the World with Ant and Bee / Happy Birthday with Ant and Bee 
Author/illustrator: Angela Banner
Publisher: Egmont, $12.95 RRP
Publication Date: Nov 2013 
Format: Hard cover, small format
ISBN: 9781405266741 / 9781405266765 / 9781405266758
For ages: 3 - 8
Type: Picture Books