I picked up today’s Perfect Picture Book when I visited London last fall. It may not be available in the US yet, but I think it’s publishing here soon. Hopefully, US readers will be able to find it!
Title: The Little Island
Written By: Smriti Prasadam-Halls
Illustrated By: Robert Starling
Publisher/Date: Andersen Press/2019
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: community, island, working together, barriers, bridges, fable
There was once a farm where all the animals were friends. They worked hard and each was at liberty to live and work where they chose. Together they looked after the farm and each other.
Brief Synopsis: When a flock of geese on an island at the edge of a farm remove a bridge to keep other animals off of the island, they are happy at first, until they realize that perhaps life is better when they are together with the other animals.
Links to Resources:
- Do you have a favorite farm animal? How do you think that animal could help another one, like a goose?
- Have you ever visited an island? What animals did you see there? How do you think each type of animal contributes to island life?
- This story is a fable. What do you think the moral of this fable is? Think of other fables that include animals;
- Check out the Teaching Notes for more insights.
Why I Like this Book:
When I think of kids at play, I often think about how they play at keeping some friends near and other kids further away. Who hasn’t seen the “Keep Out” signs on forts or play structures, or the dreaded “No XXXs Allowed”?
In similar fashion, the geese in The Little Island grew tired of sharing their island with the larger animals on the farm. But instead of building a wall or posting a sign, they destroyed the only route to the island for non-swimming farm animals: the bridge.
I think even young children will understand a discussion about this exclusionary action. I think they’ll also understand how this action hurts not just the other animals, those kept away from the island, but most especially the geese and ducks left alone there. And for adults or older children reading this story, my guess is that the impetus behind it, the exclusionary antics of certain politicians and governments building barriers and/or leaving multilateral organizations, will engender spirited comparisons.
Starling’s bright illustrations are engaging, and I especially loved the map on the endpapers.
A Note about Craft:
A straight-forward book about keeping others out may get to the point, but setting the situation on a farm with animal characters will, in my opinion, better engage young children and better show the ill consequences for both those excluded and those who exclude others.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!