After a short hiatus, Book Box Thursday is back. This time, we look at two books by Australian Sarah Mounsey who now resides in Singapore. These two books are part of the Paw Prints series, which has won a bronze medal in the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards for best picture book series.
The books we reviewed - Purple Paw Prints and Paw Prints on the Magic Sofa - are the first two books of this series. It tells the funny adventures of a little boy Eddie and his dog Oscar, and the chaos they leave behind wherever they go.
Both books are illustrated by Jade Fang, who lives in Singapore and is an Illustration graduate from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Jade started doodling at a young age, and since 2010, has illustrated several children's books. Her illustrations in Purple Paw Prints and Paws Prints on the Magic Sofa are both colourful and whimsical, and brings out the essence of the stories, from mere words to visuals. Even little ones who can't read can easily see the visuals, that is full of life, and understand immediately what is happening in the story. That is the beauty, and strength, of picture books.
Purple Paw Prints
This story is really hilarious and got EV laughing away as we read it. But to me as a parent, I hope so much that this will not happen, especially when the main character Eddie, reminds me of my mischievous AA. Well, I don't think AA will be painting a dog purple. (No no, I hope he doesn't paint anything in the house purple or any colour for that matter.) That's right, Eddie painted his dog Oscar purple, then regretted it, because he realises that his parents will get oh so mad. Too late, he couldn't get the paint off Oscar in any way. So starts an adventure by Eddie and Oscar, together with older sister Mia, to find a solution. From bringing Oscar to the car wash, to enlisting the fire men's powerful water hose, to the hairdresser, nothing seemed to work. But Eddie didn't want to give up and kept thinking of solutions. The story kept EV engaged and wondering whether Eddie will get Oscar back to his original colour white.
A funny twist comes at the end, an ending that even readers didn't expect. Just when all seemed lost and Eddie resigned himself to his fate of facing his parents' wrath, Oscar himself comes up with a solution - to paint himself white. So, the dog saves the day.
This is just such a cute and funny ending. A dog who's the victim of Eddie's mischievous antics saves Eddie, his 'tormentor', from his parents. I like to think that perhaps, Oscar had thought about painting himself white from the beginning, but decided not to reveal his solution until he absolutely had to. Imagine what he could have been thinking: 'Silly human!'. In fact, this story can be used to explain empathy, as I asked EV to imagine how she would feel if she was in Oscar's shoes; would she like to have someone 'torment' her like that, even if it was just for fun? Would it be nice to treat an animal, a pet like that? Very simply, a hilarious tale of a boy’s search for an answer to his mischief turns into a story that can be used to teach about the importance of thinking about others.
Paw Prints on the Magic Sofa
The second book in the Paw Prints series, this tale brought EV and AA on a magical adventure all around the world, on a magic sofa. It’s quite fun, actually, as we could turn our usual bedtime reading spot - our bed, into a magic bed, and go travelling with Eddie, Oscar, their friend William and several animals, including a lion, a turtle, a camel and a monkey. It exercises our imagination, as like Eddie, Oscar and William, we visited the plains to meet the lion, the desert to find the camel, and over the jungles to search for the monkey. There was even a dip in the river to pick up the turtle.
I personally like the way the illustrations depicted the various scenes in the story. From how the magic sofa bobbed on the water, to how it sand boarded down the sand dunes in the desert, to how it flew over the clouds and jungle, the story is very vividly depicted. Even the expressions on the animals are rather cheeky, friendly and endearing.
After the whole adventure, Eddie, Oscar and William return back to reality. As it turns out, the lion, turtle, camel and monkey are soft toys.
Both books seemed to have different fans in our home. EV preferred Purple Paw Prints, while AA preferred Paw Prints on the Magic Sofa. Different stories, different appeal. Being older, EV could understand the deeper meaning behind Purple Paw Prints, and put herself in the position of Oscar. The imaginary journey that Paw Prints on the Magic Sofa brought us on appealed more to AA, but was well received by EV as well, since we could also go on an adventure of imagination ourselves.
Both books are simple, endearing tales that one can read over and over again.
We have two copies each of Purple Paw Prints and Paw Prints on the Magic Sofa to give away, kindly sponsored by the folks at Closetful of Books. Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter. Most are optional, but do give you more chances. Good luck!
Terms and conditions:
- Entries that do not fulfill the requirements stated will be disqualified without notice.
- Winners will be notified by email, through the email address provided in the blog comments.
- Winners must confirm by reply email, within three days. Otherwise, a new winner will be picked.
- This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only.
- Giveaway starts on 26 June and ends on 11 July (inclusive) at midnight.
- Winners will be announced on this post and my Facebook page by 14 July.a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: We received a copy of Purple Paw Prints and Paw Prints on the Magic Sofa from Closetful of Books for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and images are my own.