10 little frogs. Written by Jason Travis. Illustrated by Shawn M Travis.
Thank you, Henry Roi, for sending me a digital copy of Ten Little Frogs in return for an honest and open review.
This story is much more than a book for children learning to count.
The introduction to the story in the form of a rhyme, prepares the child to expect a story of adventure. Counting down from ten the story and illustrations link to space, countryside, music, arts and culture.
There is humour to keep the young readers amused. For example: Frogs riding a snake, frog cake containing flies and sky – diving for flies. All of these are beautifully illustrated to provide a talking point or for the child to flip through the book and enjoy.
The closing page leaves the reader with something to think about and for further discussion with the child.
Sadly, since the disruptions to learning as a result of Covid, many children in our schools have fallen behind with their studies. Ofsted’s report into the impact of the pandemic found that some children who were hardest hit by school closures have regressed in basic skills. Older children have fallen behind with their reading and writing skills. These findings were linked to parents who were unable to work flexibly or lacked the skills to help their children.
According to one report by the UN cultural agency 100 million more children than expected in a normal academic year have fallen behind the minimum proficiency level of reading. This is in direct correlation to the closure of schools.
Research suggests that in 2020, 460 million children experienced reading difficulties. This has now risen by a further 20%.
Improvements to the situation may take a decade to remedy, therefore we need to all pull together and help in any way we can. I have recently applied to become a reading assistant in our local school to help in the remedial classes.
The idea of owning and caring for my own hens was an ambition I had held on to since watching the seventies sit-com ‘The Good Life.’
Unknown to me, my brother David also shared the same ambition. When he managed to secure an allotment plot close to where I live, it became a reality. Together we raised and cared for ten hens.
Tell us about your writing process.
I began writing notes in my journal with respect to my day-to-day activities with the hens. Having wrote in a journal for over forty years this was a natural extension of my writing process. I began observing the hens more closely and gave each of them a name. I was able to recognise them individually, observing their behaviour and rituals. The notes I was making in the journal began to look very much like a story that young children might be interested in. At the time I had a young grandson so initially I wrote it with him in mind. Currently I have four grandchildren whom I sincerely hope will enjoy reading these funny stories.
Tell us about the illustrator.
I confess that I have zero skill with art work of any description. Therefore, in order to bring my stories alive for the children I needed to find an illustrator. When I had written five stories, I took the plunge and sent a manuscript to a number of publishers explaining I would need an illustrator.
Sadly, none of the publishers at the time were willing to publish my work. This was seven years ago. I then began writing my first adult novel which was published under my pen name of K.L. Loveley. Swiftly followed by two other works of fiction and a collection of poetry.
My children’s stories although on the back burner, were not forgotten, then a couple of years ago it came to my attention from a very good friend of mine, that since her husband Dereck Maguire had retired, he had seriously taken up painting portraits. His work was excellent and although he had never done any serious illustrations, he did not hesitate to agree to illustrate Coop Chaos. Derek worked tirelessly to capture the character of each individual hen and the characters of Mr Green and Primrose. His work is outstanding.
I love the idea that children who may never have picked up a book to read or just take a look at the images, might just do exactly that as a result of the World Book Day initiative.
This fantastic celebration of reading is to my mind a wonderful programme of encouragement to help enhance the lives of our young generation.
Celebrated in over one hundred countries this event is designated as a worldwide celebration of literacy.
The mission of this day is to promote reading for pleasure and to offer every child and young person the opportunity to own a book of their choice from the award-winning books available.
It is universally acknowledged that reading for pleasure and for knowledge can increase the life-chances when this becomes a regular part of a child’s life. It is therefore important that all children have equal opportunity, especially those from a disadvantaged background.
Sadly we find ourselves once again in a lockdown situation. Difficult for everyone I agree. However, lets put a positive spin on this, if only to maintain our sanity.
Are we in agreement that fresh air is beneficial?
Are we in agreement that physical activity in the fresh air is not only beneficial for our body but also our mental health.
Education is said to be the key to success. However, education does not necessarily mean formal education. Yes of course this is important and a large part of our children’s lives. But education begins in the home and outside of the home.
Recently this was once again made clear to me, when I took my regular daily walk around countryside local to my family.
We are fortunate to live in an area known as The Dukeries in the northwest of Nottinghamshire encompassing some of the county’s finest former Ducal estates. In addition to stately homes and vast Parkland, we have ancient woodland.
It is a perfect opportunity to show and tell young children about the wonders of nature. There is surely something of interest for all age ranges. The youngest of children can’t fail to be thrilled to see a squirrel running up a tree or eating seeds from a strategically placed feeding station. Woodland floors and tree canopy can be an opportunity to discuss with older children about the cycle of nature, photosynthesis and ecological impact of humans.
This is an opportunity to educate, away from school. A field trip of sorts.
Just before the recent lockdown, my husband and I visited Clumber Park where to my delight I saw some very interesting posters for young children encouraging and stimulating their imagination while exploring the wonderful outdoors.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 December 2020
Morning Mystery is a warm and gentle book for young children. The hens on the allotment wake up one wintry morning to discover a strange sound on the roof and try to figure out what is going on. Each hen has a distinct colour on their head to help identify them and this is shown on the first pages. I like that the story is based on the author’s observations of her own hens and their various personalities. The illustrations are quite realistic but the use of colour and personality clearly set out the different characters. The story has more text than most picture books and the simple language will give emerging readers confidence to tackle longer length books. My children enjoyed reading this together. Zach aged 4 can already read but is growing in competence and fluency. The plot is simple but allows children to feel that ‘aha’ moment when they realise what the mystery is and then wait for the hens to learn the truth as well. I think it is clever that children can use their knowledge of the world to make sense of the mystery themselves. The illustrations clearly show the plot developments and I believe the natural style encourages children to get engaged with the events. Morning Mystery was an enjoyable introduction to the hens and I look forward to seeing what adventures they have next…