It’s a familiar scenario from childhood; the thrill of setting off with pocket money to spend: What to choose with the coins in your pocket? Where to spend it? And yet, in To Market! To Market! by Anushka Ravishankar, illustrated by Emanuele Scanziani, a joyous, richly illustrated rhyme, what one little girl discovers is that the real fun’s not in the spending and buying at all.
Great fun to read aloud, especially if you let your voice mirror the playful typesetting, To Market! To Market! is also beautiful and exciting to look at. Vibrant, intensely coloured illustrations of various market stalls overflowing with goods evoke childhood fantasies of hoards of treasure.
Eye-catching and exuberant, To Market! To Market! will brighten anyone’s bookshelves, as well as giving a window onto another culture – the market stalls in question happen to be in India, but the fun and beauty in this book are universal.
Likewise, whilst the specifics of Off to Market by Elizabeth Dale, illustrated by Erika Pal may seem a world way to many readers – following the problems one boy has on the bus to a market, this time in Africa – kids the world over will delight in seeing how kids just like them can be the ones to solve problems adults can’t seem to get their head around.
The market bus, overloaded with people, goods and livestock, has ground to a halt. The adults all complain, but no-one makes a move until young Keb shows them what they need to do. Where would adults be without kids, heh?
With lively, rhyming text and bright illustrations mixing watercolour, print making techniques and blocks of bold flat colour Off to Market is delightful. My kids immediately remembered The No. 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke (my review here), a super early chapter book, which also features an African market.
Hoping our bus journey to the big markets in town wouldn’t turn out to be nearly as eventful as that in Off to Market we set off for a day out exploring the sights and sounds of all sorts of (Birmingham) market stalls.
As we were out and about we didn’t listen to any music, but if you’re looking for a market-themed, kid-friendly set of songs you could start with these:
Apart from visiting your own local market, you could enjoy these activities alongside reading the books I’ve recommended today:
Have you a good market near to you? I’ve always wanted to go to a flower market or a spice market, but what about you?
Disclosure: Both books reviewed today were sent to me for review consideration by their respective publishers.