Scruffle-Nut by Corinne Fenton
“As winter leaves tumble and twirl a wisp of memory wraps itself about me and whispers me back to long ago…”
Thus begins this poetic story which gently explores the subject of bullying through the tale of a young girl and a squirrel she befriends in a city park. When Olivia notices the little squirrel with the stumpy tail, whom she feeds with biscuit crumbs from her pocket, she realises that he is able to outsmart the faster, greedier squirrels she labels the Bully-Bunch. The wonderfully evocative artwork implies that she uses this lesson to deal with the bullies in her own life, and many years later she still remembers Scruffle-Nut as she sits in the park.
This is an incredibly beautiful book with which to start a conversation about bullying with young children; I would highly recommend it for schools and families alike. Corinne Fenton’s powerful writing will reward repeated reading and the artwork by Owen Swan absolutely compels your attention.
I am most grateful to New Frontier Publishing for sending me a copy of this book to review.
Pip Finds a Home by Elena Topouzoglou
Well here’s a picture book that likes to play with your preconceptions, a penguin at the north pole, a hooded explorer who is female, a penguin that isn’t a penguin … and ultimately turns out to be extinct!
When Pip the penguin is transported from the Arctic to the Antarctic on an exploration ship, he tries to find his place amongst the different species of penguin which inhabit that hostile landscape. As the beautiful, watercolour, artwork by writer and illustrator Elena Topouzoglou shows us, Pip has similarities to, but is not exactly the same as any of the penguins he encounters. Despite their recognised differences, the penguins welcome Pip as their new friend and he joins in with their snowy games.
Finally he sees a bird that shares his striped beak, flippers that resemble wings and grey feet. It turns out that Pip belongs to the northern hemisphere after all, and in fact his species has been extinct for a long time. Can you guess which species Pip belongs to? Get your hands on a copy of this gorgeous book to find out! At the end of the story there is a non-fiction section packed with fascinating facts about these incredible birds which have adapted to live in some of the harshest conditions on earth. This book is sure to be a hit with readers of 3 and above, with its message of inclusivity, atmospheric artwork and educational content.
Thank you to New Frontier Publishing for sending me a copy of this book to review.