Red Squirrel, a new imprint from Barrington Stoke, is dedicated to creating exciting picture books.
But what makes them sit especially tall on the bookshelf is that as well as superb storytelling and inventive illustrations, these picture books contain lots of dyslexia friendly features so that grown-ups with dyslexia can also experience the joy of reading aloud to the kids in their lives.
Have you ever been reading a book and then fallen into a reverie imagining yourself as the character you’re reading about?
This is exactly what happens in All I said Was, and as a consequence – with the help of just a little magic, a boy and a bird swap places.
The boy-turned-bird is delighted. “This flying lark is amazing. I wan to to be a bird all my life.”
The bird-turned-boy is also pleased as punch: He discovers the joy of being able to read.
But is bird-life really all it’s cracked up to be? And can the magic ever be undone?
A quietly funny celebration of the power of a good book to transport us anywhere – safely – this is lovely story, told clearly and concisely. Its theme makes it particulars appropriate for opening a new venture which will hopefully enable more families to enjoy more stories.
Collins’ characterization and visual humour are especially strong (I particularly like his farmer and pigs). The illustrator also has the final say with a brilliant twist in the tale once Morpurgo’s words are complete. It’s a brilliantly satisfying, slightly naughty and rather funny end to a super book.
This is a book that could be enjoyed for so may different reasons – whether you’re looking for a prime example of illustrations doing so much to enrich a written text, a book celebrating how books can bring our imagination to life, or simply a funny story to share at bedtime – whether or not you yourself sometimes struggle with the written word.
All I can say is: Hurrah for Red Squirrel and their broadening of what it means for picture books to be inclusive.
Both M and J said they too would love to experience flying like a bird. The nearest I could offer them was the joy of flying…. a kite, made to look like a bird. Ah well, us parents, we can only try our best 😉
We cut out very rough bird shapes from old plastic bags which we decorated with permanent pens. Once the feathers, beaks and eyes were in place we attached thin doweling to our birds. I used this commercial product as a starting point, cross referencing it with these instructions for making a diamond kite to come up with All-I-Said-Was-Kites Mark 1.
We each made one kite and then imagined us swapping places with the birds as we flew them.
Additional activities which could work well alongside reading All I said Was include:
Music that goes well with All I said Was and the playing it induced in us includes:
If you could swap places with a character in a children’s book, which character would you swap places with (bearing in mind whoever you swapped with would take your place in your family/classroom/library….)?
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of All I said Was from the publisher.