Tag Archives: Julia Donaldson

#365PictureBooks Day 39 Animal music

We were lucky enough to have had the opportunity to host Julia Donaldson at our school today. Julia, her husband and helpers from MacmillanKids presented an amazing show based on her poems, picture books and songs. I think I fell in love with her stories all over again. Our audience of Year 4-6 students hadn’t forgotten the words to the Gruffalo and seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. This was fantastic – firstly because I had chosen which year levels got to see the show and I knew that teachers of the younger year levels were probably very disappointed to have missed out. However, the success of the afternoon, between the thoroughly enjoyable, fun performance and the enthusiastic audience participation, reminded me how the meaning of a story in a picture book doesn’t stop when the reader is considered too old to have them read aloud. These stories came alive in the form of mini dramatic works. The older children really understood the humour and drama of the stories in a way that our youngest children might have missed. Most importantly they loved it!

I took the opportunity to buy a few of Julia’s picture books that we don’t have in our collection. These might be the focus of my next few picture book reviews.

There’s harmony in the air when the animals get together for a concert with a difference! Koala’s playing his flute, Badger’s bashing away on the drums and Squirrel’s strumming on the guitar. Sing and dance along – you’ve never seen a show like it!

Firstly, I’m looking at a picture book that I can use with our kindergarteners (three and a half and upwards). This one fills two gaps – the first being that we need some new titles aimed at really young children, many with English as a second language and the second that our PYP Music specialists have asked for more titles that feature music, musicians and/or rhythm.

This title is one of a series where Julia has partnered with illustrator Nick Sharratt to produce books for younger readers. They emphasise simple rhyming text. I do think Julia is a master at meaningful rhyme – there’s never a word out of place and the words all make sense –  nothing is chosen just because it rhymes, but because there is a connection.

This would be wonderful used in a wriggle and rhyme type public library setting as well as by music teachers for mini musical acts.

I’m going to read this to the three and a half year olds tomorrow. I have every reason to think they will love it!


Author website: JuliaDonaldson.co.uk

Bibliographic details:

Animal music / Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Nick Sharratt.

Published by Macmillan, 2013.

ISBN: 9781447210955

All the picture books for sale today were supplied by Graham’s Paper Plus in Glenfield, who have some signed copies of Julia’s stories.

#365PictureBooks Day 37 The paper dolls by Julia Donaldson & Rebecca Cobb


“The Paper Dolls is the breathtakingly beautiful story of one little girl and her five paper dolls.

A string of paper dolls go on a fantastical adventure through the house and out into the garden. They soon escape the clutches of the toy dinosaur and the snapping jaws of the oven-glove crocodile, but then a very real pair of scissors threatens.

A stunning, rhythmical story of childhood, memory and the power of imagination from the author of The Gruffalo, and new illustrating talent Rebecca Cobb”. Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

This is a delightful, light-hearted, tale showing the power of imagination, and really reminds the reader of what childhood is all about. The little girl has a mother who helps her make and decorate paper dolls. Together, they embark on adventures and meet terrifying creatures that they overcome by sticking together.

They were Ticky and Tacky and Jackie the Backie and Jim with two noses and Jo with the bow.

And they danced, and they jumped and they sang.

And they met a dinosaur who clawed and roared and said, “I’m going to get you!”

When the inevitable happens and the dolls are no more, they live on in the girls memory until they are resurrected as the inspiration for new paper dolls she helps create with her own little girl.

Lovely with gorgeous illustrations.

Bibliographic details:

The paper dolls / Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb.

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, 2012.

32 pages


NZ RRP $18.99

Widely available.


#365PictureBooks Day 35 – Charlie Cook’s favourite book

Charlie Cook has a favourite book. It’s about a pirate, who also has a favourite book . . . about Goldilocks, who also has a favourite book . . . about a knight, who also has a favourite book . . . . This hilarious pattern continues throughout the story, right to the satisfying and surprising end.

The reader in me has always loved this book – it is a great celebration of reading – each character we encounter has a favourite book and each book is different which emphasises to children that readers are unique with individual tastes and preferences.

I discovered on rereading this, that this is a great book to help explain the concept of genres to children, as each character likes a different type of book or reading matter (non-fiction and a newspaper, for example).

This book is another great example of the creative partnership between a wonderful writer and a superb illustrator that has resulted in so many gorgeous picture books.

Other links:

Author website

Bibliographic details:

Charlie Cook’s favourite book / Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, 2010.

26 pages

ISBN: 9780330537827