Sunday, 7 October 2012

A Dragon on the Doorstep

A Dragon on the Doorstep by Stella Blackstone and Debbie Harter, Barefoot Books

This was a book gifted to us in our Bookstrust Bag, and is a favourite of both girls. It definitely fits into the more-pictures-than-words category of book, telling a a simple rhyme about two children who find an assortment of scary creatures round the house in a giant game of hide and seek.
As with all the best picture books, there is more to be told in the narrative contained in the pictures than in the words. The animals the children find are taken with them from room to room and hidden  for little readers to find; there's also a clue on each page as to what's hiding on the next one, building a sense of anticipation. The spider is a real favourite here, from the clue of a cobweb in the attic to its journey on a toy train and on to hide in the washing machine.There's plenty opportunity in the brightly-coloured illustrations to introduce children to spacial concepts, by asking them to find or describe if things on, in or behind. The children's faces only really show happiness and surprise throughout the book, but I think that's fine as there would be too much going on otherwise. Barefoot books prides itself on diversity, having both a boy and a girl and a black and white child as the human element in the story. They also don't confine the story, taking it from room to room until all the animals are outside and playing a new game.
I can't say that I have anything negative to say about this book, and it left me wondering why I'd never heard of Barefoot Books. Thankfully our local library had, and had just invested in a good amount of Barefoot titles  to explore, and more than one has become a permanent fixture since. The current edition also contains a dvd version, or you can find it on You Tube.

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