Monday, 29 June 2020

Ginnie & Pinney Learn & Grow


Ginnie & Pinney Learn & Grow series by Penny Harris, illustrated by Winnie Zhou (Big Sky Publishing) 8 x PB in slipcase RRP $197.00 ISBN: 9781922265814

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

From inclusiveness and identity to sharing and saying sorry, each of the eight books in this worthy series deals with an important facet of social or emotional learning for kids aged three to eight. The series comes with a downloadable 64-page Teacher Resource, and each book has a QR code that links to a free animated video. Significantly, the books have been developed in consultation with Australian academics in the fields of education, linguistics and psychology, so the complex themes are well thought out and represented in a way that young children will find easy to understand.

Penny Harris has placed her animal characters in familiar situations – such as a sports day, or a game of hide and seek – so that kids can comprehend the context of the specific theme of each book. The animals’ conversations and thoughts are portrayed in bubbles alongside the story text, allowing readers to get inside the characters’ minds and see what they are thinking and feeling. This encourages children to consider not just their own but also others’ wellbeing, and induces dynamic discussion about subjects that can often be difficult to process.

Featuring muted tones, Winnie Zhou’s illustrations have a soothing quality for small eyes. Her unique characterisation of the animals – from Miranda Panda and Dodo Komodo to the trio of cuddly koalas – is playful and charming, ensuring that the theme of each book is delivered in a safe and comforting setting. The use of curved lines and shapes throughout the books blankets the pages with a gentleness that is both warm and inviting.

Young children will enjoy following the adventures of Ginnie, Pinney and their friends as the appealing animals model positive behaviour and the power of empathy. Along the way, readers will develop their emotional intelligence and discover more about themselves and others.

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