Sunday, September 4, 2011

Reading Notes - Zoe and Beans: The Magic Hoop!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia. No financial payment was offered nor accepted for this post. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

Chloe and Mick Inkpen's new picture book in the Zoe and Beans series arrived in our letterbox last week, and it was an instant hit with the toddler, charming her out of an overtired strop almost instantaneously. (I could stop this review *right there* and parents of toddlers would still be motivated to buy it ;-)

We'd come in the door from shopping, C in full cranky mode, me balancing parcels and muddy shoes and plastic bags. As soon as I'd thrown the cold & frozen groceries into their places, I sat C down as we opened the Pan Macmillan parcel, talking it up as I did so. "Look, C! It's a BOOK! A NEW BOOK! For you!"

C, who loves books generally, at first was not having a bar of it. "NOOOOO! I wan' to run around!" But as she caught sight of the appealing cover, with its soft-edged, pastel look, she became interested, and came to sit down with me and listen.

This is our first experience with Zoe and Beans, and we were both charmed. The text is simple enough to engage a toddler but genuinely funny enough to be enjoyable for older children and adults (my 8 year old is particularly tickled by the tiny rabbit poos - so much easier to clean up than doggy poos!)

It's a straightforward tale - Zoe finds a magic hoop, and induces her dog Beans to jump through it by dint of throwing his favorite treat (Choccy Bears) on the other side. The hoop has transformative qualities, as Zoe and Beans quickly discover. The appeal lies in the beautiful artwork and gentle humour - not that I would have expected less of a Mick Inkpen book of Wibbly Pig fame - and in the building to a conclusion that all good children's picture books must accomplish if they are to become regular reads.

This book has been on more-than-daily rotation ever since it arrived, and I've already got the forthcoming Christmas title in the series, Zoe's Christmas List, on my radar as a new holiday title for C. I highly recommend it for children over 2.

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