Prior to having Daniel, I regularly reviewed books for new and independent authors. (see here) so I was thrilled to be asked to review the new book, The Anagranimals and the Wishing Tree.
This is a children’s books, aimed at 5-9 year olds, and I think that is probably the right age, although you might get some younger children engaging with it too. Daniel certainly enjoyed looking at the bright pictures.
The book follows six animal friends who live on the island of Pogo Bogo who one day find themselves at the foot of wishing tree. They silently make their wish, and the next day find themselves with the body parts of different animals. For those who remember the Wuzzles cartoon from the mid 1980’s, it’s kind of like that, but more developed. Pedro the Pig becomes a Pig-Orilla-Roo – a Pig, with the body of a gorilla and the legs of a Kangaroo. Later on in the book the animals learn that they can swap the body parts amongst themselves and set off an adventure….
What I loved about this book…
The physical book itself is a really professional finish, it is self published but the physical finish is as good as anything published by the big publishing houses. The illustrations are bright and detailed – and I can see older children really engaging with the pictures as they begin to identify what body parts are from which animals. I also like the idea…. I hope that future books will delve into some of the traits and strengths of the animals, so for instance the speed of a fast cat, the strength of a gorilla etc.
I also really liked that there were some less common and unusual words in the book, great for expanding a young one’s vocabulary!
What I disliked…
I’m not a big fan of the font used in this book, it just doesn’t feel right to me and I found it too ’rounded’ and with the line spacing used I found it difficult on my eyes – so I wonder how a young child who is perhaps a less confident reader might find it.
I can see that this concept has the potential to be a truly brilliant series of books, but the ending just wasn’t for me. I’d have preferred it to have ended with ‘And with that the gang set off on their first adventure.’ It doesn’t, for me at least, need the sell at the end. I think the final paragraph about the next book in the series would have been better on a next page. But this is only a minor thing and shouldn’t put anyone off this book.
Overall I give this book a strong 4 / 5 – I think my slight gripes are more personal preferences to be honest, and they really shouldn’t put anyone off giving this book a try. Once Daniel is older I am really keen to use books as a means for engaging him in discussion and use them as learning tools, and there is so much you can do with this one. You can ask your child to think of their own anagranimals, get them to draw some of their ideas, they could even write the next installment in the animals’ adventures themselves such is the open ended nature of the book. There is also great opportunity to learn more about each of the animals that are featured. I know when Daniel and I have an ‘animal’ learning day, this will be one of the books I use as a basis for that and use it to nurture his creativity and imagination. There is so much potential for extended discussion – I can’t wait!
I am really excited to be able to offer a copy of the Anagranimals & The Wishing Tree to one of my readers! Just fill in the rafflecopter below – Please note this competition is open to UK entrants only. a Rafflecopter giveaway