As the About Me section of this blog explains, my husband (known as LSH – Long Suffering Husband) and I are huge travel fans. We have been lucky enough to spend 2 years backpacking and are both incredibly keen that our kids (lovingly known as The Terrorists!) grow up sharing our passion. There is a huge map of the world hanging in our kitchen and the The Bear (my 3 year old son) is already getting competitive over how many countries he has pins in!
One of LSH’s favorite continents is Africa. He can’t wait for The Terrorists to be a bit bigger so we can take them on their first safari and ever since they were tiny he has sat them on his knee watching hours of wildlife programmes.
Based on this passion, I was thrilled to be offered the chance to review ‘Tales of the Full Moon’, The book is written by Sue Hart (of “Daktari” fame) and consists of 10, illustrated, stories about African animals. To date everything we have read The Terrorists about wildlife has been quite cartoony and whilst, often very cute, I haven’t felt it has done much to illustrate the reality of some of the creatures it has covered (in one the elephant is towered over by an overgrown butterfly!). As The Bear starts to get older and his interest in wildlife grows I have been on the lookout for books which start to take the concepts he loves (such as animals) to the next level – ‘Tales of the Full Moon’ does exactly this.
I was very impressed when the book arrived by the quality of the illustrations, they are truly lovely and almost photographic in their detail. Each story features a different animal and is narrated by ‘Spinosa’ the spider (my son is now obsessed with spiders and I have to be careful not to shoo any out of our house in front of him for fear of hurting Spinosa!).
The tales themselves are based around all of the key animals your little ones will recognize (elephants, giraffes, monkeys, rhinos) but the great thing is that they also introduce a whole variety of less obvious animals and birds (for example the fruit bat, the woodpecker and the Ibis).
Each story takes about 10 minutes to read, which in our house is the perfect ‘bed time’ length (i.e. not too long that you can’t get through it, but not so quick that The Bear feels short-changed and demands another story!).
The Bear’s favorite story in the book is about ‘Merlin the Monkey’ (or as The Bear calls him – “that rascal monkey”) who goes round stealing birds eggs until he gets his comeuppance when the Ibis’s teach him a lesson and glue him to the tree (where he has to stay until the rains come and free him). The moral is simple, but along the way we witness ‘a kill’ and introduce the complicated concept of parasite birds, so rather than the usual twee and basic storyline you get a feel of real Africa as well as opening up some great educational talking points with your children (why do animals kill other animals?, what is a parasite?, does it not rain regularly in Africa?)
At 3 my son didn’t completely understand all of these concepts – he simply enjoyed that the “rascal monkey” was taught a lesson by the “meany birds”, but the stories themselves are great to grow with him as he starts to understand the deeper concepts and already he has learnt a whole new set of birds and animals.
The added bonus is that Planet Afryca also offers an app which has the audio books on it accompanied by real life animal pictures as well as wildlife quizzes and jigsaw puzzles, so kids can still enjoy the stories even when you are too busy (blogging in my case!) to be able to read it “just one more time Mummy”!
To find out more please visit – Planet Afryca’s website
Please note I was sent a copy of the book for the purposes of this review, but the opinions expressed here are my own (and The Bear‘s!)