Review Blog

Apr 13 2018

Clover's big ideas by Georgie Donaghey

cover image

Ill. by Emma Middleton. Little Pink Dog Books, 2017. ISBN 9780994626967
(Ages: 3-6) Themes: Perception. This book contains a classic message about how looks can be deceiving and how intelligence is often more effective than strength. Clover, a lamb, is small but has big ideas. Angus the bull looks fierce but is as gentle as a lamb. Three other young lambs, a bit of a gang who tease and jeer at everyone around them, learn a valuable lesson when one of them becomes stuck in the fence. Everyone thinks the bull is fierce - even Clover's mother - but only Clover knows the truth. And only the bull knows Clover's true worth.
The illustrations, while showing soft, pretty landscapes and cute baby animals, are quite flat on the page and some pages lack finesse or proportion. The text is fairly well written but at times the author's intended meaning is lost and the word choice is sometimes odd ("fleece wobbling", for example). There are also some moments where the text doesn't link well, jumping from one idea to another very quickly, leaving the reader disoriented. It also doesn't sit well that Clover's mother tells her to stay this side of the fence but she disobeys this warning, making friends with the bull in the next paddock. The last page shows her cuddled up asleep next to the bull. This may be confusing to young children (why is she doing what her mum said not to?) and be seen by adults to be a disconcerting message. It is all very well to encourage thinking outside the square as Clover does, but disobeying her mother to make friends with someone her mother doesn't think she should be spending time with might be taking it too far.
Nicole Nelson

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