Which kid doesn’t like construction sides? Sam is no exception. Every day, he stands behind the fence and watches the big machines – the steamroller, the cement truck, and the tall crane -in action. “What if I could drive those machines?” And one of his dreams comes true when he’s asked to watch the construction side while the workers are at lunch. Taking care that nobody will enter the side and call the cops in worst case? A piece of cake! Or is it? When a couple of older boys tell Sam that he’s “too chicken” to enter the construction zone he breaks his own rules – and discovers that he can operate the big machines he was dreaming about for so long! But breaking the rules comes with a price: Sam flattens a car, pours cement on the street and hauls up a police car… What will happen to the little rule breaker?
“Sam and the construction side” comes with a surprising ending, that’s a little unrealistic for my taste. But, to be honest: Isn’t every child dreaming about entering a building yard, operate big machines and save the day? Even our daughter Finja, a girl through and through, was paying attention, naming the machines on side, concerned with the trouble Sam got himself into and surprised as well as happy with the sudden end of the story.
Let’s be honest: Even if the ending of the story will not suit our adult sense of real life and what a preschool aged kid can do, “Sam and the construction side” is a dream come true for every child.
The big format of this book provides enough space for Sam’s actions as well as the surrounding of the construction side. Young readers will love both – not only during story time, but in a “search and find” matter as well.
Can you imagine a picture book like a memory game? I couldn’t – until I read „The Other Rabbit“ by author-illustrator-team Maranke Rinck and Martijn van der Linden. The world of the favorite children’s games is made out of pairs. What a wonderful symbol for the search for friendship and love!
The rabbit’s world is just like in a memory game. It’s made out of pairs. And – who wants to be alone in world of couples? So the bunny starts a journey to find it’s match, “the other rabbit”. Rabbit meets lots of helpful creatures during his journey: A flock of birds, a king with a giant nose, a chicken, a swarm of fish and a herd of different animals help him to find “the other rabbit” – until they find their own counterparts… But the rabbit doesn’t give up. He finally discovers the whereabouts of the other rabbit. And it’s seems to be impossible to finally unite with his match: The other rabbit is guarded by a lonely dragon, who wants to keep his only friend… “Rabbit flew an airplane and drove a car. He swam in the sea and sailed a boat. But now he knows where the other rabbit is… and they can’t be together!” But isn’t everyone lonely until he finds his match? Rabbit has a great idea…
“The other rabbit” is a wonderful tale about the search for friendship and love, about never giving up and not getting discouraged. Younger children will love the repetitive rhymes of this book and enjoy the impressive illustrations by Martijn van der Linden while preschool aged kids will identify themselves with the rabbit and his search for his friend, “the other rabbit”.
But isn’t a metaphor like a memory game as search for happiness too abstract for most children? I don’t think so. Our almost-four-year-old immediately got the message. We were talking about the lonely rabbit, who is “sad to be alone” and “needs a friend” hours after we finished the book. Friends are important for children every age. But the search for a real friend isn’t always easy… Can’t all of us remember the first days of school, when we were desperately searching for someone nice, someone to talk to, laugh with, share secrets – a friend? I also loved the artwork by illustrator Martijn van der Linden: A little abstract and just the right hint of color to support the message of this book. A good match, not just when it comes to books: Maranke Rinck and Martijn van der Linden are married in real life, the couple has two children.
“The other rabbit” is another unconventional book published by one of the oldest and well known children’s book publishers in Holland, Lemniscaat. You can read our review of “Playground” by the same publisher here.
“The Other Rabbit”
By Maranke Rinck (Author) and Martijn van der Linden (Illustrator)
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Lemniscaat USA
„Sometimes the journey is even more fun than the destination“ – these captivating words on the cover of “Playground” got my attention right away. Second came the colorful cover illustration by author and illustrator Mies van Hout. If you read “Happy”, “Friends” or “Pussycat pussycat” you probably already know and love Mies van Hout’s artwork. Her pictures speak mostly for themselves – and she has the wonderful skill to engage readers every age.
“Playground” (love the original title: “Prentenboek“) stays true to the first sentence on it’s cover. Readers follow the main actors of this book, a little girl and boy, to a special playground. First, they run through the dunes – but which part should they take? Little readers can engage, let their fingers do the walking, climb trees, jump from water lily to water lily to get across a river and help their new friends through a busy anthill. And did you ever want to slide down a cliff? A new creature joins the children from each landscape, contributing to an ever-lengthening parade to the playground. “Playground” is not just fun to read, it’s a truly appealing playground for the mind of little ones, offering interactive fun while training coordination and problem solving skill. An all-round carefree package for those evening when children want more than “just” reading!
Mies van Houts watercolor illustrations are just breathtaking. Bursting with color they offer contrast for infants, toddlers and preschoolers will love the details and funny characters of the boy, girl, their cat and animals they meet. Reading this book aloud and playing along just heightens your spirits on a rainy day, after tantrums or a hard day. A fun and colorful book for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Finja will take it to preschool tomorrow and I’m sure it will be a huge hit during story time!
“Playground” was published by Lemniscaat, one of the oldest and most well known children’s book publishers in Holland. Today Lemniscaat is publishing international children’s books in it’s publishing houses Netherlands, China, Italy and the US.
“Playground” by Mies van Hout
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Lemniscaat USA (April 1, 2016)