“Beetle Bottoms are tiny people who live in gardens all over the world, but only a few people have ever noticed them because they are no bigger than an apple pip. When you are that little, life is very exciting and often dangerous. You can dive into a raindrop, slide down a poppy stalk and ride on the backs of insects.”
Created by a family team who believe in “creating a world where your children’s imagination can come to life where your children know how amazing they are, where they know they are loved and they know they can follow their dreams” is the first in what should be a great series of charming books and other resources that will capture the heart and imagination of your youngest readers and their younger siblings.
Where is Pip? is a lift-the-flap adventure which not only introduces the characters in an engaging way, but each page provides a clue not only for what is to come next, but what it is that Pip is actually doing. Miss Nearly 3 and I had great fun not only peeking behind the flap to see where Pip was, but also trying to predict what she was doing. Accompanied by simple, repetitive text and bright, engaging illustrations, this book quickly became a favourite. It is a mark of quality story-telling and artistry that make it a return-to book, even after the surprises have been revealed.
Beetle Bottoms and the Sticky Situation was equally engaging as it deals with someone who thinks she is big, but isn’t quite yet – something we address each day with Miss Nearly 3 who wants to be Miss 7! Her adventurousness leads Pip into trouble, trouble which gets more and more serious as the story proceeds and which takes a deal of problem-solving and luck to sort out. If I were Pip, I think I’d rather take my chances with the worm than be rescued in the way she is, but Miss Nearly 3 was quite comfortable! She’s braver than Grandma! And Pip’s final response was so familiar!
Both books offered a lot of scope for talking and thinking which is such a critical part of sharing stories with little ones, if we want them to learn the language we are expecting them to master. And after we read them, there was a lot of fun searching for Beetle Bottoms in the fairy garden that is such an integral part of my granddaughters’ playground. And as we were looking we learned about petals, and thorns, and bark, and all those nature-related words. No wonder we adored these books. In fact, when we had a recent hailstorm, Miss Nearly 3 was concerned that her Beetle Bottoms might have been hurt or drowned!
However, the books are just part of this interactive package – there is a whole Beetle Bottoms world online at https://www.beetlebottoms.com/ as well as supporting products. We really liked the Story Play cards which have story beginnings on them so children can create their own adventures to tell, draw or act. There are support activities, a Beetle Bottoms club to join and wall decals that are perfect for enabling the children to create their own stories and experience all the fun that that brings.
There has been a lot of media coverage lately about the need to have education generally, and reading in particular, valued in the home, and as teacher librarians we can contribute to this by reaching out to our communities with suggestions for quality materials that will keep the adults as interested as their children. This is a series that I would highly recommend be at the top of that list for this year.
Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian
M.Ed.(TL), M.App.Sci.(TL), M.I.S. (Children’s Services)
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