This is the book that has been the immediate hit in the Rainbow Library.
I made a point of including some tv tie-in books to encourage the children’s use of the book box and boy was that a smart move. The library has only been running for two days but already three children have read this book and it has been taken home by two of them. It barely touched the box when it was returned by the first borrower before it was whipped out with glee and a little jumpy dance by borrower number two.
For me this book is a success because it works on two levels. A child can happily look at it on their own and slide the pictures open to reveal the characters. It’s bright and interactive and works perfectly without the text but it is also a book that can be enjoyed with an adult, reading the text and talking about the situation on each page.
Before I set up the library I had read Loll’s tv tie-in post over on her Storyseekers blog. I have to agree with her frustrations. A lot of the tv tie-in books I have come across have terrible stories and sometimes rather clumsy screen shots from the show. I can’t help thinking that the publishers are cashing in at minimum effort.
The most successful tv tie-in books aren’t tie-ins at all but are the books that inspired the tv show, such as Polly Dunbar’s Tilly and Friends books and The Octonauts books by Meomi. These are the books that I have been looking to include in the library. Familiar enough to encourage the children to choose them but quality books in their own right. That is why it was refreshing to learn that the Abney and Teal books reviewed on Storyseekers, although created from the show, were created as stand alone quality books and not ‘episode dumps’.
This morning I went back to the storyseekers blog to add the Abney and Teal books to the Rainbow Library wish list and I came across her previous tv tie-in post where she says:
‘Watching a television programme that captures your imagination can be wonderful and if you are then allowed to immerse yourself further in this world through books, then the magic continues. If your siblings and/or friends are also keen on the same series, then it becomes a shared experience and something that can form a sentimental part of childhood…I’d still like to find some beautifully executed TV tie-ins, but in the meantime, I’ll indulge the boys’ Pontypandy passion as a more meaningful part of our reading.’
I’ve seen the way the children respond to the Fireman Sam book and Loll is right, it is a real emotional connection. So whilst I will remain cautious of the quality of the books, I will keep adding tv tie-ins to the library. The whole idea of the Rainbow Library is to support a child’s love of books and if Fireman Sam gets them interacting (with their friends) with books and words then who am I to complain?
Books added to the Rainbow Library wish list:
The Adventures of Abney and Teal Brilliant Boots and Bop’s Hiccups
Doodle Bites by Polly Dunbar
Books added to the library:
The Octonauts and the Sea of Shade. This book is perfect for the library. The children know the characters. The illustrations are beautiful and full of detail to spark their imagination. They could easily look through this book independently and imagine their own story lines. The story itself is complex enough to encourage questions and discussions and to introduce new vocabulary. It’s a winner.
Do you have suggestions of any more I could add? Please do let me know.