Time to look at the three Es – enlighten, entertain and educate!
GIRAFFE AND BIRD,
by Rebecca Bender
This sumptuous picture book offers an irreverent take on relationships – one that acknowledges that “getting along can be difficult”. Giraffe has bad breath and makes noises when he eats. Bird consumes too much fibre and makes Giraffe sneeze when he prunes his feathers. It may look like they can’t stand one another, but they learn that they really can’t manage without one another. The illustrations give pre-schoolers lots of opportunity to join in with funny faces and noises, while the text gives their vocabulary a comfortable stretch. Dancing Cat Books, $18.95.
50 POISONOUS QUESTIONS: A BOOK WITH BITE,
by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, illustrated by Ross Kinnaird
In her introduction, the author advises that this book is best read wearing latex gloves. Every page is rife with venoms and all manner of toxic substances. The 50 questions (“What’s a gas attack?”, “Can you paint yourself to death?”) are spread through chapters whose titles include Spikes & Fangs, Lethal Leaves, and Murderous Minerals. A perfect (if lugubrious) diversion for environmentalists age nine and up. Annick Press, $12.95 (paperback).
SPY, SPY AGAIN: TRUE TALES OF FAILED ESPIONAGE,
by Tina Holdcroft
Veteran illustrator Tina Holdcroft presents this cool assembly of spy missions gone wrong, from secret tunnels exposed by peckish ants in ancient India to a botched CIA attempt to recover a sunken Soviet submarine at the height of the cold war. The stage is set for each tale with loads of historical background, and the stories are told in cartoon form in Holdcroft’s lithe and colourful style. The pages are dense with detail and the reading is ideal for would-be intelligence operatives 10–14. Annick Press, $14.95 (paperback).