Playing Hide and Seek in pictures and words

posted in: Ellie Sandall | 13

I first came across author and illustrator Ellie Sandall last summer when her debut picture book, Birdsong, was shortlisted for the Booktrust Early Years Award 2010. Birdsong’s stunningly beautiful, gentle and colourful illustrations made a powerful impression, and I immediately marked her name down as one to watch in the future.

So when I saw that Ellie’s second book, Daisy plays Hide-and-Seek came out at the start of May I was very keen to take a look…

Jake and his bovine friend, Daisy, play hide and seek. You’d think finding a large cow wouldn’t be that difficult, but Daisy is no ordinary cow. In fact she’s somewhat of a chameleon, able to change her hide (no pun intended!) to blend in with the background. Jake looks in low places, high places, wet places and dry places but, despite his best efforts, he cannot find his friend.

Finally Jake can think of only one more place Daisy might be – in the field full of cows. But is she there?

This gorgeous, gentle book about the delights – and frustrations – of playing hide and seek is perfect for a quiet, calm storytime. Ellie’s illustrations are highly textured, full of soft colour and kids and adults alike will love looking for Daisy on each page. If your children enjoyed the game of finding Halibut Jackson, I’m sure they’ll love this book!

Another thing I like about this book is that it can be enjoyed by a wide age range of kids. The simple text with plenty of repetition makes it great for the preschool crowd, whilst I think the book could be used well if you’re teaching prepositions, or talking about the senses with slightly older kids. The number of different processes used in creating the beautiful illustrations might inspire even older children to mix and match different techniques in their own artistic creations.

All in all, whilst we all love a book that allows us to roar and yell, it’s great to have such a beautiful, sunny and peaceful book (with a boy protagonist, to boot) in our story collection.

Inspired by Daisy’s ability to camouflage herself M and I made our own book of hidden animals. To start with we created a concertina book by sellotaping thin card at opposite ends.

We then chose matching pieces of patterned paper (we happened to use origami paper, but you could use wrapping paper, or anything you like as long as it has a regular pattern on it), and keeping one piece whole, we cut out animal shapes from the matching piece, and then glued them on to card.

I’m not great at drawing animals so we googled “animal silhouettes” and “animal stencils” to find patterns to use. When the glue was dry we cut out our animals, and glued the remaining whole pieces of paper into our book on alternate pages. Using paper fasteners we then attached our animals into the books, matching the patterns.

The idea of using paper fasteners, and having the animals stuck on card was that then the animals can be rotated, making it easier to see their shape.

Having created visually hidden animals, we then created some animals hidden in letters – I explained the concept of anagrams to M and asked her to write her own anagrams for each hidden animal opposite the matching visually hidden animal.

She decorated the book with doodles and then we presented it to Dad and J with a great deal of pride and not a small amount of laughter – M thought the anagrams were hilarious! I was taken aback by how funny she thought the idea was – definitely a winning little language game that we’ll play again!

Special thanks go to my blog reader Fatima in Spain who sent me a beautiful handmade Halibut Jackson card which inspired our hidden animals today!

Whilst we made our book we listened to:

  • A Cow Says Moo by Alastair Moock
  • Did You Feed My Cow? by Ella Jenkins
  • Cows by Me 3 – here’s the video:
  • Elephant Hide and Seek by SteveSongs
  • Hide and Go Seek With the Moon by Eric Herman and the Invisible Band

    Other activities which could work well alongside reading Daisy plays Hide-and-Seek include:

  • Making a cow out of clothes peg, using these instructions from Busy Bee Kids Crafts
  • Making a cow door hanger, instructions again from Busy Bee Kids Crafts.
  • Make a papier-mache cow using an empty water bottle and toilet paper rolls, with instructions from Crafts, Kids, Quilling.
  • And of course…playing hide and seek in your own home or garden!

    You can read a couple of reviews of Ellie’s first book, Birdsong here (from Library Mice) and here (from The Book Chook). Susan (The Book Chook) has also review Daisy plays Hide-and-Seek – just two day ago! – here.

    You can find out more about Ellie and how she works next week, when I’ll be interviewing her! Ellie is also appearing at the Just So Festival in August, where she’ll be reading Daisy and the Hide-and-Seek Cow, with some Just So style Hide and Seek games thrown in. You can find out more about the weekend-long festival of creativity aimed at children, young people and their families that is the Just So Festival here.

    In the meantime, have you got a favourite cow book? Or Hide-and-Seek book?

    Disclosure: Daisy play Hide-and-Seek was provided to me gratis by the publisher. This review, however, reflects my own and honest opinion.

    13 Responses

    1. Zoe

      I was nervous of reading your review before I wrote mine – what if we’d seen quite different thing or had different reactions! Yes, M loves playing with words – I’ve wondered if whether her bilingual-ness makes her more aware of words and how they can be adapted/played with.
      Zoe recently posted..Playing Hide and Seek in pictures and words

    2. Even in Australia

      The NYPL has Birdsong – yay! – but not this. I hope they will order it. I also came up empty on the Rebecca Paterson book… I am too cheap (and space-constrained) to buy a book sight unseen even on your recommendation so I’m hoping our library will get some of these books in. I think I’ll send a request that they do, but in these days of budget cuts, I’m not sure how likely I am to get results…
      Even in Australia recently posted..Nate the Great Really Is Great

    3. Even in Australia

      P.S. As part of her homework, my daughter is sometimes asked to make little words out of a big word. She finds this extremely difficult. There is a new book of poetry out that does exactly this and it is waiting for us at the library so I hope to review it soon!
      It is: Sounds like it would be right up M’s alley.
      Even in Australia recently posted..Nate the Great Really Is Great

      • Zoe

        So glad you saw the post Fatima! Your card is still pinned up in front of my desk and I look at it every day!

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