Friday 1 January 2016

ReaditDaddy's first Book of the Week for 2016 - "How to Find Gold" by Viviane Schwarz (Walker Books)

Our first Book of the Week for this year is the imaginative story of a little girl and her wise pet crocodile on a quest for hidden treasure...
Yes yes, I know some of you grown ups are probably nursing a raging hangover (you big sillies) but rest easy knowing that the children's picture book world is gearing up for a bumper 2016. So are we, and we're kicking off on the very first day of 2016 with our first Book of the Week for 2016.

Viviane Schwarz's delightful new picture book "How to Find Gold" tackles two subjects very dear to our hearts.

Firstly it delves into the rich imagination of a child, in this case a young girl called Anna who, along with her crocodile friend (real or imaginary? That's entirely up to you!) muses one day about finding gold.

Secondly it redresses the 'animal character' balance. Crocs are great, so why are they always cast as 'the bad guys' - Viviane obviously thinks this is a great injustice so gives us a fabulous croc as a sidekick.

Crocodile is a wise friend indeed and voices a note of warning to Anna before their treasure quest can begin. "It is dangerous and difficult to find gold" he notes sagely.

"Brilliant, let's go!" shouts Anna and so begins a fine adventure as the two embark on their mission.

But where on earth do you start? Are they going to seek gold underground or at the bottom of the ocean, and what on earth are they going to do with it once they've found it?

Viviane has tapped directly into that fabulous inner voice that children have. Nothing seems impossible, there are no boundaries to their imagination and - the thing we love the most - material possessions are not what drives them, more the experience of an exciting hunt for treasure is what underpins this delicious and original story with the sort of girl character we just can't get enough of in books.

If you've ever had any love for Calvin and Hobbes (and let's face it, you'd have to be some kind of complete ninnymuffin NOT to love C & H) then you are going to adore Anna and Croc.

Charlotte's favourite bit: Drawing up the all important treasure map!

Daddy's favourite bit: I love the message that's subtly delivered as the book comes to an end, and it's a message that so many adults could learn from their own kids. Beautiful stuff.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Walker Books)

"How to Find Gold"

Written and Illustrated by Viviane Schwarz

Published by Walker Books

Publication Date: 7th January 2015