Monday, 11 February 2013

Ruby, Blue and Blanket by Jane Hissey (Scribblers Books)

As promised, here's our review of Jane Hissey's brilliant new children's book "Ruby, Blue and Blanket". A celebration of playing together, dressing up and above all having a lot of fun.

Ruby the mouse and her two friends Blue the rabbit and Blanket the pony, decide to play with the dressing up box one day. At first, the three friends wonder what they can dress up as. Ruby wants to be a witch flying high on her broomstick. Blue dresses as a Princess, with long flowing hair, a long dress and bare feet. Blanket decides to be a Zebra, or perhaps a unicorn Zebra. Wow!

The more the three friends play, the more they mix and match all the wonderful things found in the dressing-up box. Why just be a witch when you can be a space witch? Why settle for being a mermaid when you can be a pirate unicorn mermaid! Hooray!

In Jane's words, it's fantastic to let children loose with a box of dressing up clothes rather than just opt for the rather stale and sterile pre-made shop-bought costumes that children seem to favour every time there's a 'dressing up' day at school. We took a lot of trouble and effort to dress Charlotte up as a Pirate Girl for her school's "Book Week" recently - and it was a lot more fun than just grabbing a Princess dress off the peg and letting her wear that instead.

As any parent (or indeed grandparent like Jane) will tell you, nothing keeps a child's attention for longer than an exciting box of dressing up clothes (it's always one of the things that gets an enthusiastic response at Charlotte's school during the morning child-led play sessions). Kids are natural role-players and love to mix the roles and genders up, just like the fantastic characters in Jane's book.

As with the "Old Bear" books and all Jane's other work, the story is charming, the illustrations are absolutely fantastic, and it's a great book to snuggle down with before bed.

Charlotte's best bit: Definitely loved Ruby the best, particularly when she dressed as a mermaid pirate unicorn.

Daddy's favourite bit: A beautifully illustrated and presented book, a lovely celebration of children being children, and doing the things that children do best - letting their imaginations lead their play and activities.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Scribblers)