Yellowbelly and Plum Go to School by Nathan Hale
|Yellowbelly and Plum Go to School by Nathan Hale|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Yellowbelly and Plum start at school where no one if different because everyone is different. Excellent illustrations make a book which is only slightly let down for the UK market because it uses such words as 'orthodontist'. Recommended because of its matter-of-fact approach.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: July 2007|
|Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group|
Yellowbelly (so called because his tummy is yellow and furry) and Plum the bear (guess what colour he is!) are the best of friends, even if they are very different. They do everything together so when Yellowbelly starts school, Plum goes along too. School looked like being a great fun game to play! They each have their own desks and join in all the activities.
When they went outside at break Yellowbelly was in the thick of things and Plum met a new friend, a rather shy little girl. Off they went to play and it was then that Yellowbelly realised that he couldn't find Plum and he started to cry. Meanwhile Plum had realised that he wasn't shy any more; he was having a wonderful time and when the two friends finally found each other again they both joined in all the games.
I enjoyed this book but I'm going to begin by saying why children and parents in the UK will find it rather strange. It's very American. Children go to the orthodontist rather than the dentist. They have 'recess' rather than 'break' and the children play basketball. It's a culture difference but once you're past that this is a great story.
Firstly, I've got to tell you about the children who attend the school. To say that they are a mixed bunch rather understates the situation. This isn't the usual class of white children with the token black face or two. There are white children, black children, mixed-race children, strange animals, birds and even a robot. There is no 'different' because everybody is different. Every student is unique and completely themselves. No one is conforming to a norm – because there isn't one. It's all about individuality. It's a great, reassuring book for a child starting school. No one is going to think that they're different and even if school does seem rather big they'll soon feel at home there.
The illustrations are excellent – exceptionally detailed pictures which come close to portraiture at times. I had an urge to stroke Yellowbelly's tail on more than one occasion and there's a picture of the school playground which you can get lost in. Spot the giant squid, the baby elephant and a whole host of other exotic animals. There's something new every time you look at the page and it's worth the cover price of the book just to look at the illustrations.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Yellowbelly and Plum Go to School lacks the mawkishness of some similar books, such as Oh, Boris! by Carrie Weston and is certainly better than A Pocketful of Kisses by Angela McAllister and Sue Hellard.
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