Hello and welcome back to Along Came Poppy! The last few weeks really seem to have flown by here and, as we are already well into March, it is time for another Touring Picture Book choice.
For those of you new to the blog, every month the Touring Picture Book team, comprising of Acorn Books, BookBairn, Mamma Filz and ourselves, choose a new picture book together with activities inspired by the story to share with you. This month our choice is the enchanting In the Swamp by the Light of the Moon written and illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon and published by Templar Books.
About Frann Preston-Gannon
London-based Frann Preston-Gannon is a Greenaway nominated illustrator and was the first UK recipient of the Sendak fellowship where she spent a month in residence with Maurice Sendak. Her first picture book, The Journey Home, was short listed for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize. She has written and illustrated more than ten children's books including Sloth Slept On, which we came across earlier this month too! We will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of Frann's beautiful work.
About the book
In the Swamp by the Light of the Moon is a beautifully illustrated rhyming story about a little frog who is singing by himself one night but doesn't feel his song is quite right. One by one he invites the other creatures of the swamp to join in. Each creature adds their unique voice to the little frog's melody, yet the song isn't complete until the final voice of all joins in. The final voice may belong to the swamp's smallest resident, a shy little bug, but frog reassures her that "Even small voices count".
We thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful book as its rhythmic and rhyming text make it brilliant to read aloud. With its strong message of inclusivity that all voices, even the smallest, should be heard, it is a story ideal for classrooms everywhere. Plus the story's calming lyrical quality coupled with the dream-like style of illustration make this a perfect bedtime read too. I guess you could say it's a good all rounder!
Having read the story together, its lyrical nature inspired us to create our own music - please note I use the term "music" incredibly loosely! The Mini Reviewers, raided our recycling box and, with a little help, created their own DIY junk instruments. Their most successful makes were the "guitars" created very simply out of small cardboard boxes and elastic bands and the pasta-filled shakers.
To create the pasta-filled shakers we used a cardboard tube and covered both ends with circles of scrap paper secured with elastic bands. The Mini Reviewers then decorated the tubes with coloured tape and off cuts of wrapping paper.
With our instruments at the ready, we then re-read the story and added a different sound to our "melody" each time a new creature joined in little frog's song. We (they) experimented to see what sort of noises could be made with the instruments, hands and voices. This was such a simple idea but the Mini Reviewers LOVED it and it caused a lot of giggling as they tried to remember who was responsible for making each of the different creatures' sound!
In the Swamp by the Light of the Moon was published by Templar Books earlier this month. Thank you to Templar for our review copy. If you would like to get your hands on your own copy, there will be a giveaway on Twitter very soon. Please don't forget to check out the other brilliant activities that have been inspired by this book, the Touring Picture Book team have been very busy this month:
Acorn Books - Drawing Tutorial with Frann Preston-Gannon
BookBairn - Origami Frogs
Mamma Filz - Musical Sensory Shakers
Until next time, HAPPY READING!
Kate & the Mini Reviewers xx