Picture books: May 15

Julia Eccleshare on Fairytale News | Friends

Fairytale News, by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins (Walker, £10.99) Age: 4+

Hot news from Fairytale Land! - it's all in the Fairytale News which Jack delivers around the neighbourhood in his sack. Jack's customers include three bears, a poor widow with a foolish son, a little girl off to visit her grandmother and a terrifying giant who turns out not to be so frightening after all; his newspaper round brings together some favourite stories by creating engaging crossovers between the familiar characters. Colin and Jacqui Hawkins combine old jokes with new ones in this vibrant and genuinely funny addition to the myriad deconstructions of well loved fairy-tales.

Friends, by Kathryn Cave, illustrated by Nick Maland (Hodder, £9.99) Age: 4+

This is not so much a story as a number of reassuring and gentle vignettes capturing the moments of self-doubt and insecurity that can be overcome with the support of a good friend. In a lyrical text, Kathryn Cave picks up on universal feelings of shyness, inadequacy, fear of the unknown and the need to be comforted. She also shows how friendship can survive an argument. Nick Maland's softly drawn creatures, gloriously mismatched in shape and size, nicely suggest that friendship can cross barriers. There is no didacticism in the book, only an understanding of the essence of interdependency.


Julia Eccleshare

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