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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Puddle Hunters by Kirsty Murray and Karen Blair. Melbourne: Allen and Unwin, 2018

When the rain stops, it's time to go puddle hunting. Ruby and Banjo go up the street, through the park, over the bridge and down to the river flats where the puddles lie waiting... Splosh it, Ruby! Splosh it, Banjo!

Author Kirsty Murray, best known for her YA novels, shows in this charming picture book that she can also write for younger children. Picture books are harder in some ways than writing for older children. The theme needs to be kept simple, but engaging and you can only use a few words to tell your story.

The theme of this gentle story is simple. Children love splashing around in puddles. Two siblings, Ruby and her younger brother Banjo, put on their boots and go out with their mother and their dog, searching for puddles to splash in. It takes a while to find any, because the sun has come out and dried quite a lot of the puddles, but eventually the little family find some and the children splash happily - in fact, in the last puddle their mother joins them. It's a simple joy, followed by the joy of having a bath to clean off the mud.

The art is lovely watercolour by illustrator Karen Blair, with sharply drawn figures of humans and dog, with the background softly painted in large single strokes to suggest sky, grass  and trees.

A good book to snuggle up on the couch with, to read to your toddler, or for an early childhood teacher to read to a class.

Available in all good bookshops.

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