Frances Lincoln Children’s Books Paperback
By Antje Damm
This mini but chunky book consists of a series of photographs or illustrations juxtapositioned by a question on the opposite page. So, there are questions about yourself, such as ‘Who is your best friend?’ or ‘What is your favourite disguise?’ or even ‘If you could be any animal, which animal would you be?’
It describes itself as a little book with big ideas, ‘sometimes provocative, always interesting, every page can be the start of a new discussion’. Its size makes it endearing (although heavy) and its contents makes it fascinating; there are so many pictures to look at and to discuss. It covers every day life, family, amusing illustrations and it seems to reflect the beauty and yet mundane nature of life at the same time.
Our pupils spent a lot of time looking carefully at the pictures and loved the challenge of answering the questions. They particularly liked the mixture of real people and imagined people, in photos and drawings.
It is truly thought-provoking and prompts very open conversations on a range of topics; some of them not always easy to approach, such as do you have a secret or what do you wish you could do really well? Some of the pictures are heart-warming, discussion-provoking and some just a little bizarre, so it’s worth as an adult familiarising yourself with the book before sharing it.
Suggested use (1-1 or small groups)
It’s a book with no storyline but is instead packed with questions that can be used in any order to help initiate discussion and possibly stimulate writing. It is worth picking out a few pages and questions for discussion at a time as it is impossible to tackle the whole book in one go. It’s maybe something to pick up now and again for those children who need to improve their spoken English or who are reluctant to express themselves.
With minimal text, there is the chance for struggling readers to be drawn into the book because of the pictures and because it is text light. However, it is a great chance to consolidate reading questions words, such as what, who why, where and how. Youngsters can get familiarity with such words in an interesting and thought-provoking way.
There is fabulous potential to talk about the pictures and get a flow of ideas for writing. Our tutor used it to flick to three random questions and then chose one question for children to write about. The writing can happen on colourful speech bubbles, so that it’s more like a conversation and makes writing more exciting.
Children might also want to make their own books from such questions as ‘What is your favourite book?’, ‘Who is your best friend?’ or ‘Have you ever heard a funny story about yourself as a baby?’
If working with other children, they could ask a fellow pupil a question to be answered.
Suggested use (whole class)