Wednesday 14 March 2018

The Anthony Browne Collection

Missus B's Picture Book Reviews 

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Complimentary pack provided by Walker Books UK in exchange for an honest review. 
Ten book collection from the former Children's Laureate Anthony Browne. Full size, large  paper-backs, packaged in a clear, zipped envelope. 
A fabulous collection for a classroom library or family bookshelf. Ideal as a gift, the stories touch on a range of subjects including bullying, sibling relationships, family chores and anxiety. While these may well be every day topics, delivered through simple text, the images are both surreal and magical. With quirky  and humorous detail, Anthony Browne's art work will tickle the minds of young and old. Peculiar, funny and sometimes plain weird, the collection includes:

Look What I've Got!- the story of Jeremy, an incessant show off, and his peer Sam. Delivering messages about the importance of sharing, being a good person and how we interact with others. Beautifully illustrated with clever detail and quirky  visual surprises.

Through The Magic Mirror:  Toby's mundane afternoon becomes quite extraordinary when he discovers  a magic mirror at home. With dream-like and humorous detail, 'Through the Magic Mirror' shows us how a little boredom can ignite the imagination. 

Willy The Wimp: Fed up being called a wimp, Willy decides to follow a strict fitness regime, gradually becoming physically bigger and more confident.His new image scares off the bullying gang, but underneath it all, Willy's gentle nature is what makes him who he is. Not to my personal liking- an outdated story line with too much emphasis on being physically big and strong.  The illustrations do make me smirk though!

Willy The Champ: This time, our  Willy is not the sporty type but becomes an accidental hero. Beautiful, funny and wacky illustrations, a great book for opening up discussion about individual interests, bullying, cliques & appropriate social behaviour.

Willy And The Cloud:Illustrates how emotions such as  fear , anxiety or sadness  can follow us around like a dark cloud. Suitable for a broad age-range, offering a simple story line, with the potential for complex discussions around emotional well-being. Beautifully illustrated, capturing the enormity of the feelings we can carry at times.

Piggybook: I  enjoy so much about this book- it's difficult to keep it short! Mr. Piggott and his sons  have the life...meals handed to them, their laundry done, a tidy home, all thanks to Mrs. Piggott  (who manages to juggle all this with a full time job)  The tables turn though, when one day, Mrs Piggot abandons the household leaving a note:  'You are pigs.'  Oh dear... harsh! Suddenly when the family have to fend for themselves, they realise how much mum does. Thankfully she returns and with lessons learned, the boys pull together, sharing out the chores. At last, Mrs. Piggot has some me-time and tinkers outside with the car engine. A comical story about gender roles, domestic life and the importance of team work. Fun pig details throughout each page.

Silly Billy: Billy struggles with sleep- he lays in his bed, imagining all sorts of peculiar things. Mum and Dad tell him not to worry, that they will keep him safe, but it takes grandma to offer a practical idea which, at last, leads to worry-free sleep.  An excellent resource for parents or professionals, opening up dialogue about childhood anxiety and introducing readers to the 'Worry Doll'  (explanation about this Guatemalan tradition on rear sleeve.)

The Tunnel: A tale of sibling rivalry, with elements  of family life many children will recognise. Turns into a  fascinating , frightening  and magical adventure . Beautifully illustrated with intricate details and subtle images of fairy tale characters hiding within.

Willy The Dreamer : Paying homage to great art  works, 'Willy The Dreamer' is packed full of elaborate, quirky  & humorous detail. Readers will enjoy exploring the fascinating and beautiful artwork within. Willy's dreams know no bounds and we see him as a film star, sumo wrestler, a painter and explorer. Willy's  dreams can be frightening too, with scenes of a fierce monster and being lost at sea.Simple text, amazing pictures.

Changes: Joseph is noticing some peculiar things happening around him.The  kitchen kettle morphs into a kitten. A nose and mouth appear in the bathroom sink. A crocodile, snake and gorilla appear in the living room. That morning, his father had gone to collect his mother, mentioning that things were going to this what Dad meant?  Quirky and sometimes creepy, the illustrations are both fascinating and frightening at times. It all makes sense when on the final page, we see that  the big change is that Mum & Dad are bringing home a new baby. While the story closes with a typical family scene and no peculiar extras....the ending is somewhat abrupt. Fascinating and odd- the humour, for me, is bordering on creepy. 

Overall, a fabulous collection of books.

Happy Reading,
Missus B  x

Anthony Browne Changes


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