Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Book Review: Little Grey Donkey by Nicole Snitselaar

SYNOPSIS: Every day, a little girl called Serafina comes to visit Little Donkey. But one day, she doesn’t turn up. Little Donkey is so worried about his friend that he decides to go and look for her. In this touching tale, Little Donkey overcomes his fears in order to make sure that his best friend is safe and well. Charming text and unique illustrations capture the beautiful moments between the little girl and her best friend, donkey, making this delightful picture storybook a beautiful bedtime read.

REVIEW: This was the other book we were lucky enough to get our hands on this month. I loved it firstly because I felt it gave my children a glimpse of other cultures. I don't know what country the book is meant to be set in but with a name like 'Serafina' and the landscape and scenery I am guessing it is somewhere in the Mediterranean. I feel this book is a lovely way to introduce small children to other parts of the world.

This is a great heart-warming book with a lovely moral for children; with the message being that with love you can conquer any fear. The story plot and the way in which it is told keeps the reader enthralled in the story and eager to find out what is going to happen next. I liked the fact that Little Grey Donkey could speak and so could illustrate the emotions that someone would go through if a loved one failed to turn up one day. Because of the anguish that the Little Donkey is encountering you instantly warm to the character and my children were both making comments along the lines of "poor grey donkey."

We are taken through a range of frightening scenarios such as narrow and steep cliffs, having to brave getting in a boat etc and as he conquers each fear there is a reiteration of the line "Then he remembered Serafina, swallowed his fears and..." basically overcome the fear. It's a powerful message and one which I could even relate to; I mean since having my children I have had to brave going out without my face make-up on if one of them has become ill suddenly- a big thing to me! Ha Ha! But on a more serious note, I hope they remember this book when they grow up and realise the importance of sometimes taking risks to accomplish your goals in life.
And if the lovely storyline wasn't enough then we have the gorgeous hand-painted illustrations and also the added bonus for younger children of being able to go through the book and spot the animals and creatures in white. My toddler son loved doing this and it is a great way of teaching them new animals.

I love it when an ending of a book makes you smile and this one certainly does. As I said before throughout the book there is a reiteration of the line above, but when Serafina asks Little Grey Donkey how he managed to find her his reply (the ending) is a twist on the line:

"I thought of you, swallowed my fears and was filled with ....... love"

So I felt this book encompassed many angles; introducing the reader to a new culture, teaching children an important life lesson of not letting your fears rule you, giving us wonderful illustrations and even giving us the little extra detail of the mini-creatures scattered throughout the book for younger readers to find. Wonderful!!

Rating 4/5

For more info please visit www.topthatpublishing.com

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