New Fun Resource – The Spaghetti Club

The Spaghetti Book Club is a resource where children can read book reviews written by other children. Children can search for reviews based on their interests. Schools and teachers can subscribe to allow their students the opportunity to submit reviews. The administration provides scaffolding which assists all children to cover the necessary elements they require for publication. Children are also encouraged to submit a drawing with their review, so the site itself is peppered with colourful children’s drawings. This site has been added to our Fun Resources page.

Want to Play Trucks by Ann Stott and Bob Graham

Want to play trucks?

Ann Stott (author) Bob Graham (illustrator)
Walker Books 2018
ISBN: 9780763681739
Age group: 3+

Reviewed by Viv Young

Two boys—Jack and Alex—are playing in the sandpit at a local playground while their mums chat on a bench and a baby sleeps in a stroller.  It soon becomes apparent that while ‘Jack likes trucks. Alex likes dolls’.

This hilarious story about good friends negotiating difference is full of wisdom and kindness. It presents conflict and its resolution and with lots of cues for discussion. The dialogue is realistic (‘I like…,’ ‘You can’t…’) and easy to follow. But for this reader the most refreshing part of the story is the way in which the creators avoid stereotypes; Jack is a noisy boisterous kid but he’s also capable of thinking through problems, Alex is quieter, even a little dreamy, but just as assertive as his friend when the situation calls for it.

Bob Graham’s award-winning artworks make this wonderful story sparkle from the very start as he sets the scene before the text of the story begins. His knack for capturing gestures and expressions is on display in every spread and perfects the characterisation of every character, even the mums absorbed in their own conversation! The light bright colours of the world Bob Graham creates convey all the hope and happiness that childhood should be about.

This is a fantastic first book for talking positively with kids about difference and friendship.

Jelly-Boy by Nicole Godwin and Christopher Nielsen

Jelly-Boy

Nicole Godwin (author) and Christopher Nielsen (illustrator)
Walker Books: 2020
ISBN: 9781760651237
Age: 3+

Reviewed by Viv Young

A young jelly fish falls in love with a plastic bag she mistakes for a jelly-boy and follows it into the deep ocean currents.

Jelly-Boy is an imaginative exploration of water pollution from the perspective of ocean creatures. The plot takes its cue from tales of star-crossed lovers—the jelly-girl’s family don’t like this dangerous and different ‘jelly-boy’ yet she follows him anyway. While this may sound serious, when applied to a jelly fish and a plastic bag its humour is clear from the outset. There is, however, a serious undercurrent to this story. The danger to which the text refers is from the perspective of the jelly-fish who do not really understand what this jelly-boy is, but for readers the danger is the water pollution conveyed with great subtlety and force in the illustrations. The tension between text and image is what makes this book particularly powerful—it conveys all the innocence and trust of the animal world as well as the danger pollution poses to it.

The artwork for Jelly-Boy delivers the straightforward message about water pollution and is visually compelling. Each page is alive with colour, pattern and texture, reflecting the great beauty of the ocean world in danger. The repetitive shapes also help the reader to empathise with the jelly-girl and her confusion about jelly-boy—the plastic bag while recognisable is reminiscent of the creatures around it.

Jelly-Boy never mentions water pollution explicitly and that is its great strength—by viewing water pollution from the perspective of the creatures who suffer from it Godwin and Nielsen have managed to create a humorous and deeply moving story.