Tuesday 28 October 2014

Puppy Playtime 1,2,3

Puppy Playtime 1,2,3 by Celeste Walters and Adele Jaunn (Little Hare Books)
ISBN 978-1-742977-16-4
PB RRP $14.95 
Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

On the surface, this picture book by author Celeste Walters and illustrator Adele Jaunn simply rhymes its way up to ten and back, accompanied by cute illustrations of puppies playing. However, that isn't all there is, not by a long way. There's also an element of mystery, education about different dog breeds and a huge variety of verbs. Then (although this reader wasn't observant enough to notice it on the first read through) there's also a 'spot the bone' activity. This is a book with a lot of things to keep young children busy!

Billy the Bitzer has hidden his bone and is worried the other puppies are going to find it. First one puppy comes racing and chasing, then two romping and stomping, up to ten, when Billy the Bitzer is feeling unhappy and snappy. No wonder. So he decides to get rid of the puppies, one by one. First he starts grunting and growling, then hooting and howling, until there's one little puppy, sneaking and peeking … who finds the bone. And it's been in view the whole time.

The different breeds of puppy are depicted beautifully by Adele Jaunn, who also illustrated Baby Bilby's Question by Sally Morgan. A poodle, a collie, a samoyed, a great dane and others. All have joyful, inquisitive expressions on their furry faces. Each page is covered with happy little dogs, always on the move, as puppies are. In fact the illustrations convey movement extremely well and this is a real strength of the book.

Celeste Walters has written several books for young adults and children, including A Certain Music. Puppy Playtime 1,2,3 uses repetition with skill and clever rhyming. Lots of fun for adults and kids to enjoy together, this is a book can that can be re-read, with something different to notice each time.

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