Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Joining a fantastic Blog Safari to celebrate the release of "The Ugly Five" by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (Scholastic)

If ever you're asked to name a dream pairing working in children's books today, you'd definitely have to mention Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler for sure...
We're delighted to join in with the Ugly Five Blog Safari today, and we're also utterly delighted to see this talented team pairing up again for an idea that really tickled our fancy.

For once, here's a book that celebrates five fascinating animals that really don't feature in enough children's stories, but there's also a more subtle and lovely message tucked into this awesome book too - one that's particularly relevant if (like me) you're a bit of an old minger!

The Ugly Five are not particularly cuddly, they sometimes do the grossest things out in the wild but they definitely deserve their share of the spotlight.

"The Ugly Five" is a bit of an unfair title but let's face it, no one's going to want to stick a poster on their wall of a Marabou Stork or a Vulture. As for Hyenas? Well, they're apparently a bit 'on the nose' and can be a bit too free with their strong chomping jaws so it's no wonder the rest of the animals all run away whenever they turn up at the watering hole.

Julia's entertaining rhymes tell the story of this homely quintet. The wildebeest, warthog, vulture, hyena and marabou stork swagger proudly across the savannah, rejoicing in their ugliness - and delighting their babies, who think their mums and dads are just perfect just the way they are (just like Charlotte, who doesn't seem to mind that mum is gorgeous while dad looks a bit like a potato-headed nightclub bouncer gone completely wrong).

That rather lovely moral is deftly delivered by Julia and Axel (in fact this book has to feature some of Axel's best work yet, the illustrations are so wonderful and had us fantasising about Axel doing a brilliant Non Fiction animal book as a possible accompaniment to this. Just putting that out there, Scholastic folk!)

A great lesson here for little ones, a fantastic jumping off point for kids who want to go beyond just reading about cuddly bears and tigers, and you've just got to completely love the idea of kids buying into the idea that you're perfect just the way you are. Stunning stuff!

Charlotte's best bit: Enjoying learning a little more about the animals featured here once we finished the book.

Daddy's favourite bit: A glorious fanfare for unloved and unwelcome animal species who do deserve a bit of book love, as they're equally as fascinating as the rest of the animal kingdom.

"The Ugly Five" by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is released today, 7th September 2017, published by Scholastic (kindly supplied for review).

Be sure to check out the other stops on the Blog Safari for this superb book.