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Books to keep the kids happy: Who Am I?, My Friend Fred and Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention

All Areas > Entertainment > Book Review

Author: Jill Bennett, Posted: Friday, 22nd November 2019, 15:00

Who Am I? Tim Flach

The award winning photographer Tim Flach whose superb photographs grace the pages of this peek-through book of endangered and threatened animals is passionate about rewilding.

Here using riddles, small circular images of parts of animal faces, and die-cut peek-through pages, he introduces youngsters to a dozen animals (or rather they introduce themselves) including the Bengal tiger, a white-belied pangolin, an axolotl and a giant panda.

In the final pages we learn what makes each creature special and why it’s endangered. The author ends by asking young readers to help save these amazing animals and indicates how best to get involved in trying to save them.

My Friend Fred Frances Watts and A. Yi

An unseen narrator (until the last spread), dachshund Fred’s best friend tells of the doggy things he gets up to. He loves dog food (disgusting!), chasing balls, sniffing trees and digging holes.

However he doesn’t like stairs unlike his pal, he loves baths, his friend hates them and Fred does some rather odd things like howling at the moon and turning around thrice before sleeping.

Youngsters will delight in guessing the nature of Fred’s best friend (there are some visual clues in A. Yi’s adorable watercolour illustrations) so may work it out before the final reveal. Whether or not they do, with its themes of friendship and difference this is an engaging book to share with your little ones.

Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention Pip Jones and Sara Ogilvie

This is the second rhyming story about young designer/inventor Izzy Gizmo and Fixer, her crow collaborator.

Now she’s super excited for an invitation to the annual Invention Convention has arrived through her letterbox. Grandpa ensures she overcomes her initial uncertainty about the reliability of her machines and off they sail to Technoff Isle in a machine of Izzy’s design.

Like the other competitors, Izzy sets her sights on the badge to the Genius Guild to be awarded to the winning design. Inevitably so have all the others and one in particular is a selfish hoarder of materials but despite this and other setbacks, Izzy’s unfailing creativity and ingenuity (not to mention some assistance from Fixer) finally win through…

Izzy’s such a powerful role model – resilient, inspiring but also on occasion apt to let her frustrations get the better of her until Grandpa and Fixer offer encouragement.

Faced paced and spirited as Izzy herself, Pip Jones’ narrative drives its message to a satisfying finale and in combination with Sara Ogilvie’s splendidly energetic, offbeat illustrations, this is a smashing book to set the imagination of young readers and listeners sparking with creativity.

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