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Review: The Bad Day by Frann Preston-Gannon.

Review: The Bad Day by Frann Preston-Gannon.

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Squirrel is certain he is going to have a lovely day, until he gets stuck up a tree. The animals around him are having a terrible time too: Woodpecker is stuck in a tree, Snake is in knots, Tortoise has overturned, Fox has indigestion, and Mouse … well. Mouse is stuck in Fox’s stomach. 

When the other animals realise that Mouse is having the worst time of all, they band together in an attempt to help. Maybe working together and rescuing Mouse can turn their day into not such a bad one?

Illustrated in Frann Preston-Gannon’s beautiful style, with wide-eyed expressions and lots of texture, this will be a hit with young readers. 

Someone else is always worse off is a phrase beloved of my grandparent’s generation. Sometimes it is used unkindly, to stop a person from talking about their difficulties and experiences, such as grief or chronic illness. However, this story is about day-to-day problems (perhaps the young human equivalents might be not having anyone to play with, or tripping up over messy shoe laces). What can appear to make a day rubbish can be turned around with a little effort, and the help of the people around us.

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This would be a fantastic story for talking about interaction with others. We are so used to the idea of friendships that we sometimes forget to consider how we interact with people who we don’t know so well. The people we don’t like much, even. It is lovely to see a picture book about positive behaviour towards others, because understanding that we sometimes rely on people who we hardly know is important. I especially love the inclusion of Fox, whose guilty (and queasy) expressions betray the fact that he has done something very, very unkind. 

A wonderful double page spread in the middle of all the animals together allows the reader to predict how they might be able to help one another. This would be a wonderful point for an adult reader to pause and ask: what might happen next?

A fable-like story that readers will gain from with every read. This would be a great text for talking about working together as a team. 

 

Thanks to Templar Books for my copy of The Bad Day. Opinions my own.

Picture Book Reviews · Picture Books

Review: In The Swamp By The Light Of The Moon by Frann Preston-Gannon

Review: In The Swamp By The Light Of The Moon by Frann Preston-Gannon

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A little frog sings his song one night in the swamp by the light of the moon. It is very lonely singing by himself, and one voice doesn’t carry far. Frog sets off in search of others to join his song, and eventually, he has formed a whole band to sing together in the swamp. 

A gentle tale about companionship and music. 

I love how this story could be taken at face value, or read on a deeper level. It could be about music, and how different instruments make a richer song. The different animals make different sounds, which could be used to explore complimentary rhythms. 

This could also be a metaphor for companionship, and how different voices and opinions make a richer environment. We may look different, and sound different, and move to different rhythms, but that’s what makes our world a rich and wonderful place. 

The setting and characters share total Princess And The Frog vibes. Anyone who was in love with the swamp setting and the animal friendships in the Disney film will adore this beautiful picture book. 

The colours are rich but subtly mixed to bring the nighttime swamp to life. I adore the animals’ expressions too. Their wide eyes and open mouths somehow convey huge amounts through apparently simple expressions.

Frann Preston-Gannon was the talent behind I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree, an anthology of poems about nature. Her style won my heart over for both showing the natural world and being accessible and attractive to very young children. 

This is a winner both in the story and in illustration. Pick it up and join in the tune. 

 

Thanks to Templar Books for my gifted copy of In The Swamp By The Light Of The Moon. Opinions my own.