Review Blog

Apr 16 2015

Use your imagination by Nicola O'Byrne

cover image

Nosy Crow, 2015. ISBN 9780857633927
(Age: Preschool - Yr 2) This book is subtitled 'But be careful what you wish for' and it is aptly so. When Rabbit says she is bored, Wolf suggests that she writes a story.
'I am a librarian, you know, and librarians know a lot about stories.'
Rabbit is somewhat suspicious.
'What big ears you've got!'
'All the better for listening to stories with, my dear,' said Wolf.
'And what big eyes you've got!' said Rabbit.
'All the better for reading with my dear,' said Wolf.
Immediately both Rabbit and reader are alerted to Wolf probably NOT being the sort of friendly, helpful librarian you find in your school, but Rabbit ploughs on and asks how a story is started.
'You need to use your imagination! It's making up words and pictures to tell a story,' explained Wolf. So Rabbit suggests something with space rockets, big explosions and lots of bananas, but Wolf, with a greedy grin on his face, suggests a fairy tale with a baddie (bigger than a mouse) and so together they build a story, Rabbit innocent and Wolf guilty, continually urging Rabbit to use her imagination. But just as Wolf thinks he has got gullible Rabbit right where he wants her, she uses her imagination and...
This is a unique story that carries the young reader right through to the huge four-page spread that provides the spectacular twist in the tale at the end. The suspense is built through the pictures starting with the front cover where a shadowy wolf with sharp teeth looms over a recumbent rabbit and continues through the expressions on Wolf's face as he thinks he has got the better of Rabbit. So as well as being an entertaining story for our youngest readers, it provides an opportunity to explore the power of pictures and how they work with text to give it greater meaning. With older students, it also offers an opportunity to explore body language and how it adds so much to what we are saying or listening to, and the need for and the use of emoticons in our digital communications. This could then be extended into an examination of adverbs and how we can express thoughts, feelings and actions in written stories that are not illustrated. As a teaching tool, all you have to do is use your imagination!
Barbara Braxton

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