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Good morning and happy Wednesday. Today, not only have we been given a lovely children’s book to review but the author, Charlie Farley, has also written a post for us all about creating picture books for repeat reading together (aloud, rhyming, repetition, joining in) and why children love them so much!
As an avid bookworm, reading with children is something I am passionate about and am pleased to be raising two little bookworms in my boys. I was really excited when Charlie said he had a piece of writing about this that he would like to share on my blog and I hope you enjoy a read.
Is there a happier refrain to hear from a child when you’ve finished reading a picture book? If just one child says ‘Again! Again!’ at the end of Layn Marlow’s and my new picture book ‘A Dare for a Hare,’(Orchard) we’ll both be over-joyed.
Of course many wonderful picture books are not intended for repeat reading, some covering difficult issues or emotions, and that’s just as it should be. Above all we need a wide range of stimulating picture books for every child.
But as a lover of picture books, first as a child, then a parent, and now as a writer, there is something so special about those books children want to read over and over.
My dad must have known every word of Elfrida Vipont’s and Raymond Briggs’ ‘The Elephant and the Bad Baby’ just as I did, shouting out ‘Rumpeta, rumpeta’ with him as he read. As a parent I discovered one of my daughters could recite all of Maurice Sendak’s ‘Where the Wild things Are’ before she could read a single word.
So what is it that brings a child back again and again?
Every good picture book has two prerequisites: a good story and great pictures. Story includes characters, setting, journey and of course the ending. It’s also important that the child can empathise with the story. Secondly, although just as crucial, is the way that story and setting has been captured in illustration. I’m not sure all authors want to hear this, but good picture books are as much, if not more, about pictures than words.
But why, aside from a good story with great illustrations, would a child want to read a picture book over and over? Clearly, after the first time, they know the ending, so it’s not the excitement of finding out.
Perhaps it’s because the child knows just how the story goes. Maybe they enjoy the comfort of knowing each turn of the journey, even the moments of peril. Perhaps it’s about knowing the words, with rhyme helping children remember or predict the next line. Then there’s the joining in, shouting out the refrains throughout. And most of all the feeling they get from that satisfying ending they’re waiting to hear before you close the book and they plead for more.
I write my picture books from the heart, but perhaps all those bedtime reads have made me subconsciously seek to include these elements in my stories, like rhyme and refrains, and of course (hopefully) a good story, captured by Layn’s wonderful illustrations. And maybe, just maybe, one child might shout ‘Again! Again!’ for ‘A Dare for a Hare.’
We were delighted to be sent a copy of the book ro read together.
I’m Harvey, so there! As brave as a bear!
Nothing can scare me. I’m the world’s bravest hare!
Harvey the hare sets out to prove that he’s as brave as a bear in this warm and heart-felt story. But little does he know that his big brother Buster is right there behind him every step of the way . . .
This feel-good rhyming tale of brotherly love is perfect for fans of Giraffes Can’t Dance and The Lion Inside.
Charlie Farley grew up by the sea in North-East Scotland, where he spent his days reading, writing and daydreaming. Charlie has always been inspired by nature, and much of his writing is influenced by the landscape
and animals of Dorset, where he lives with his wife, four children and two dogs.
Layn Marlow gained a first class degree in Illustration from Southampton Solent University, and has been writing and illustrating picture books ever since. Layn’s titles have sold over a million copies worldwide and
been translated into more than 20 different languages. A Very Strange Creature was shortlisted for the Red House Book Award and Hurry Up and Slow Down won the Never Too Young Coventry Inspirations Book
Award in 2010. Layn lives in Hampshire with her family.
The book is beautifully illustrated and was a pleasure to read. I love a bedtime story that rhymes and there was plenty of chance for different voices which the kids always like me to do.
They really enjoyed the story and thought the big brother hare was kind and lovely to his little brother. A beautiful book and story which we all gave two thumbs up and would recommend!
Kindle – £8.99
Hardcover £11.95 (Prime eligible)
Paperback – £5.94 (Prime eligible)
This would make a perfect gift for any little one, especially if they are about to become a big brother! What is your child’s favourite book at the moment? Let me know in the comments below,
Thank you to Hachette Children’s Group for including us on this tour and sending us a copy of the book. You can check out the other reviews on the blog tour at
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