After being sent a review copy of Jack and Boo's Snowy Day I joked with author Philip Bell on twitter that he now needed to send me some snow. Damn it, he's good as this is the scene we woke up to yesterday morning!
Having read the book with Little Miss C just a couple of days before it meant that she was super excited about the unexpected snow and instantly wanted to go out into the garden and explore and that's exactly what this book is all about.
Written by Isle of Wight resident Philip Bell, and illustrated by his wife Eleanor, Jack and Boo's adventures in the snow were inspired by a rare heavy snow fall on the IoW and the couple's time exploring a snow covered island with their two children.
The book is written in poetic prose making it very different to every other book that we've read with LMC. I have to admit that I found the first read through quite tricky as I wasn't instantly sure how to best read it out-loud for her (at just two and a half years) to fully understand it all. A second read through was far easier and I found myself really enjoying the rhythm of reading it out loud. It seems a slightly strange thing to say (especially coming from me, an engineering graduate!) but it made me wonder if that's why people say that to enjoy poetry properly you need to read it aloud too. Maybe I should have just listened more in GCSE English classes...
Back to Jack and Boo - the writing style isn't the only thing that makes this book stand out from the rest. All the art work is a combination of illustrations and real photographs. The two characters are really there in the snowy world that the author saw with his own eyes, not just the one in his head.
In the book Jack and Boo explore the snow covered world and discover all the wildlife that they are sharing it with. The book is very factually accurate (making it really appeal to UK Nature Blog writing Mr C) and talks about everything from fox tracks in the snow to visiting redwings. In addition to the main illustrations on the page facing the text, the prose is also accompanies by smaller illustrations, all labelled to help any little Chris Packham in the making. These little illustrations really caught LMC's attention and she was particularly interested to understand why the oak tree in winter had lost its leaves before being covered in snow, yet the fir tree was still green underneath the white blanket. I certainly never expected myself having to explain to a toddler the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees.
I can instantly see why this book appeals so much to children and their parents. Not only have you got the lovely story, but the back of the book also contains a double spread of things to spot in the winter and a page of snowy day activities. What a brilliant way to encourage children outside to explore the snow.
Jack and Boo's Snowy Day is the third book to come from Beachy Books, following Jack and Boo's Bucket of Treasures and Jack and Boo's Wild Wood. Come the new year I'll definitely be looking to buy both of these and it sounds like the the former would be an ideal accompaniment to a seaside holiday and the latter perfect for the next time we explore our local woods. Also, if you're looking to support smaller businesses this Christmas then these books would also make ideal Christmas presents as they are "independently published" by Philip and his family.
All three titles are available on Amazon, but if you're not so keen on their tax affairs you could instead order them from independent Beetroot Books or directly from Beachy Books. You can also follow Beachy Books on Facebook or Twitter. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing where Jack and Boo explore next - a walk by a river maybe?
Discalimer: We were sent a copy of Jack and Boo's Snowy Day to review by the lovely people at Beachy Books.