Blurb: Can you imagine being almost invisible? Well, that’s exactly what Gecko felt he was, so decided to set out on an adventure to find some new friends like him. Join Gecko on his journey and you will be amazed at the fantastic creatures he meets. Have fun trying to find them in this magical story.
If I gave out Bedtime Book Awards, Invisible Us would win the Book Most Likely To Be Fought Over award – a high accolade indeed in this house!
Minishine (6) and Babybows (3) were both captivated by the mixture of natural and cartoon illustrations and by the concept of finding the new animal on each page. They were a little overenthusiastic on the interactive side of things actually and we have had to institute a strict turn-taking schedule for reading this one, to avoid accusations of things like ‘hogging the owl’, and ‘looking at the page before me when it was my go’.
The story is a simple one of finding friends despite differences and due to similarities, and a nice celebration of some of the unique features of different animals. The book doesn’t go into any detail on the camouflage mechanics, but this actually encouraged us to spend additional time with the book talking about how each animal disguises itself and why it might do so.
There is quite a lot of text per page compared to some picture books, but we found that the children were so engaged in the illustrations while they were listening, that they did not lose interest in the story as we went along.
Minishine: Okay, so I really, really like finding all of the animals in this book. The colours and pictures are really pretty. I especially liked the gecko and the butterfly, and the owl, and…
Babybows: I like the sssscary ssssnake!
Minishine: The snake wasn’t scary though? It was friendly. All of them were friendly.
Babybows: It might be scary though. If you didn’t see where it was…
Minishine: [reluctantly] Maaaaybe. [suddenly enthusiastic] Ooh ooh ooh, I liked that too… that they all found some friends and didn’t have to be lonely any more because they could go on adventures with their friends. Can we read this one again tonight? I think it was my turn to go first…
Babybows: I’m first! And I’m doing the snake!
Minishine: Nooooo, but…!
*sighs* Let the bickering commence. At least they are enthusiastic about books and enjoying reading. And in this case they are learning something too.
Dougie Arnold’s decision, as a young teacher, to move to Kenya was to change his life. Teaching in four different international schools, the last of which he set up from scratch for the then leader of the Kenyan opposition, Ken Matiba, he fell in love with the country. Some years later, the President’s family, the Kenyattas, asked him to be head of their prep school but his father’s cancer prevented a return to Africa.
Half way through his fifteen years in Kenya he took two years out of the classroom and helped to run and market a game reserve on the edge of the Rift Valley, broadcasting some of his exploits on BBC radio and qualifying as a pilot. Wildlife and its protection became a passion.
Returning to the UK he spent eighteen years as deputy head of a leading London prep school but took early retirement in order to write. The influence of Africa is core to his work. An illustrated children’s book, Invisible Us, is due out in September and Tusker, a novel on elephant poaching, at the end of the year.
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour (details on the poster below) for more great reviews and content!