It’s 5 minutes to 11am on a bright and busy Saturday Storytime in Tertulia, pre-Covid. The parents and young children are piling in the door. I have made my book selection and am ready to start.
They gather around me, faces upturned in steely determination to be read to. For a brief moment of absolute stillness, I think I might actually be less nervous if it were a board presentation, but then I turn the page of the first book and bam, the magic begins….
‘The Song of the Tree’, by Coralie Bickford-Smith, published by Particular Books, is an enchanting story of birds who land in a tree. “Every year, when the dry season came, a flock of birds settles in its branches. They told the tree of the places they had been.”
This one bird in particular is worried when they have to leave the tree at the end of the season. “When the rain pours down, who shelters in your branches? Who rustles your leaves? Who traces your bark? Who sings you to sleep?” All is revealed in this beautifully illustrated and cloth-bound book. It’s a keeper.
‘Imagine!’, by Patricia Forde, with illustrations by Elina Braslina, just published by Little Island, is about a grandmother teaching her granddaughter how to overcome fears by imagining funny situations – like when vampires scare you, imagine them with funny hats and roller skates. The words and the pictures work perfectly together. Molly, our neighbor, reviewed the book for us. She knows it by heart by now, and is going on record as saying “It’s my bestest story ever.”
‘Counting Creatures’, by Julia Donaldson and Sharon King-Chai, published by Two Hoots, is a beautiful interactive books about baby animals. Each page asks, “Who has more babies than that?” A bat has one baby holding on tight as they fly through the night. A fox has six cubs frolicking, frisking, bushy tails whisking. With flaps to lift, pictures to explore and counting to be done, it is the perfect storytime book.
‘Little Bear’s Treasures’, by Stella Dreis, published by Greystones Books, is a stunningly illustrated book about a little bear who loves to find treasures. None of the other animals see what he sees when he finds his treasures, but one day he meets a bird and everything changes. “And, oh, what they found! Together they discovered: a tree-bark boat, thinking hats, glittering fish, a bunch of bats and so it went on… because when treasures are shared, they multiply.”
‘What We’ll Build – Plans for our Together Future’, by Oliver Jeffers, published by Harper Collins, tells the story of a father and daughter who build things together (and boy can I relate to this having renovated an old school house). “What shall we build, you and I? Let’s gather all our tools for a start… And a fortress to keep our enemies out, and higher walls for when they shout. But you don’t always lose and you don’t always win. So we’ll build a gate to let them in.” This book just oozes with love and great story telling.
That’s it for today… happy reading!
Bríd Conroy and her husband Neil Paul run Tertulia – A Bookshop Like No Other at The Quay, Westport.