Jez Alborough tells some comical and catchy tales. Where's My Teddy comes first and tells the tale of both a boy and a real life bear both trying to find their teddies. They end up having each other's teddies! At the end of the book the words read 'huddled and cuddled their own little teds.' This gives you a taster of the amiable language used. It really is a snuggle up bedtime story! The children love it because the boy had a teddy bear too large (much bigger than him!) and the big real life bear is carrying a teeny weeny teddy bear belonging to the boy! The illustrations encourage a good chuckle, that's for sure.
Another book by Jez Alborough is It's the Bear! A Mum and her son go on a picnic in the woods. The boy is scared of bears and doesn't want to go. They get to the woods and set out their picnic but oh dear, Mum has forgotten the dessert! She leaves the boy to go and get the dessert (the only bit of the book I am a bit unsure about - leaving your child!) The boy sees a bear coming (his worst fears came true, oh dear!) and so hides in the picnic hamper!
One of my favourite parts of this book is the page that shows the boy in the hamper. There is a tiny picture of him in the hamper on the middle of the page, and the rest of the page is pitch black. It makes the reader feel like they are also inside the dark hamper, just brilliant.
The bear eats all of the picnic and then decides he also wants dessert, but oh no (yes you guessed it) there is no dessert! The bear looks inside the hamper, and is frightened by the boy!
Through this whole section, there is a strong element of 'he's behind you' when the bear is standing inches away from the hamper. This really gets children excited and they know what is coming but love it every time it does.
It is without a doubt a cheerful read (even to make the adults smile) and uses amusing rhyming text. The illustrations are bold and colourful, making it easier for a younger reader to understand.
Both story books are illustrated in a comic style fashion. This links to the idea of the reader virtually second guessing what is going to happen through each step, and this is great for children learning about structure.
In terms of learning, well I would probably say keep this one as a special bedtime read and perhaps it is not so much a classroom book. However, there is always the possibility of getting younger children to create their own picnic - including exciting food that the bear may want to eat! Or you could do the 'what happens next' and ask the children what they think might happen when the Mum leaves to get dessert, and get them to finish the story.
A bunch of jolly books indeed!