The Red Rocket Pirates by Katie Dale illustrated by Elena Resko
Pirates are always a popular subject with children and it is refreshing to see that this one depicts both girls and boys with their parrot embarking on an exciting sea bound adventure. The brightly coloured illustrations show big waves, an encounter with a shark and a dangerous landing on an island. I loved the nuanced colours of blues and purples of the sea which gave it a special texture and might inspire some beautiful multi -media artwork. Inevitably, there is treasure to be discovered on the island, but it isn’t quite what the children expected!
Too Much Noise! by Cath Jones illustrated by Leesh Li
Rabbit and Bear live in the same wood, but have different experiences, which is a good lesson in discussing points of view. Rabbit just can’t settle to sleep because he is disturbed by Bear’s loudly rumbling empty tum in the distance: ‘too much noise’. Kind Rabbit offers to help him to find some food but he has such a big appetite that he is never satisfied, despite being brought plentiful nuts and berries by his friend. But after a good meal of freshly caught fish, he is full at last. Bear offers Rabbit a bed for the night after all his hard work but it seems that now he is going to make ‘too much noise’.
Surfer Chimp by Alison Donald illustrated by Gareth Robinson
Chaz the Chimp is a pretty natty dresser who clearly loves a surfing challenge. He and several other species of apes grab their colourful surf boards and set off for the open sea for a surfing competition. All seems to go well until he is distracted firstly by a huge fish, then a crab and finally an octopus. The final straw to his successful surfing seems to be a shark looming towards him – how will he ever be able to concentrate on winning the surfing contest? But it seems that his deft dodging and leaping has really impressed the judging panel. Despite this – Chaz isn’t too keen to receive his trophy because the Shark is rapidly heading for the beach!
Buzz off, Bee! by Jenny Jinks illustrated by Giusi Capizzi
This is probably my favourite one because I do like books about bees – anything that gets across the message to children that these are important insects is a plus. This one is on a mission to find some flowers but he is continually thwarted as he makes mistakes trying to land on a hat, a dress and then a Garden Centre notice. Everyone tells him to ‘Buzz off’ but he is rewarded at last when he finds a big garden packed with splendid flowers and other bees. As with all the other books, the text intertwines with lavish illustrations throughout, and the reader is rewarded with a simple quiz at the end to check comprehension.
I strongly recommend this innovative series of reading books which have proved to be much appreciated by my daughter who has been home schooling my five year old grand-daughter during the recent lockdown. I will let her have the last appreciative word:
‘She sometimes finds her school reading books a bit dull and repetitive but she always looks forward to receiving the Maverick ones in the post from her nanna. I really like the size of the books plus the very colourful illustrations and the questions at the end. She always enjoys reading the funny stories and is very proud to be able to progress through the different bands’.