Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Toddlers are readers, too! The Groove Book Report: Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers Harper Collins rrp $17.50

It may have been coincidence, or serendipity that the rep at Harpers sent me this delightful little tale. For the first time in many a years the back of my house in Alicetown was knee deep in snow! And, that night on the news Wellington's own Antarctic hero, Happy Feet was preparing for his journey back home on NIWA's next vessel to the pole. All this provided great context for the littlest readers in the household. Lost and Found proved to be an immediate favourite. The simple, beautiful, watercolour illustrations and enchanting story have won over the two year old on the first sitting. I can understand why it won the Blue Peter Book of the Year 2006.

Oliver Jeffers using an economy of line and colour and focuses most of his message in the subtle expressions of his two characters. This is unusual in a book designed for such a young readership. Normally the template approach is big and bold colours, simple colours, references to shapes, colours and family surrounds. Repetition in the manuscript and a reinforcement of ideas and laces usually wins over a two year old. It also helps if the book works when read out loud.

Jeffers doesn't really do any of this, yet the charming story, two line per page speaks volumes in the silence between the words. It requires the reader and the listener to prompt each other about what's happening. I like that. The young missy and I have spent much time talking about the details of each page - where is the penguin going; why did he leave; what do concepts like 'lonely' and 'love' mean and what is the value of a hug?

A bonus - the book is now available for in toddler friendly board format so the youngest generation can enjoy this unforgettable story about friendship and the search for a home.

Worth a look is Jeffers own website, where you can see his latest projects, his stunning art and find out about more of his writing.

You can see Oliver Jeffers work at: http://www.oliverjeffers.com/

And, don’t forget Happy Feet is now on his way to the pole. You can track his journey at: http://www.ourfarsouth.org/Track-Happy-Feet.aspx

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