What the ladybird heard next by Julia Donaldson

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Ill. by Lydia Monks. Macmillan, 2015. ISBN 9781447275954
(Ages: 3-7) Recommended. Julia Donaldson is famous for her rhyming stories and this, the sequel to What the ladybird heard, does not disappoint. It is perfect in its simplicity, with an enjoyable narrative, effortless rhyme and fast-paced action. Robbers, Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len, are out of jail and they are heading back to the farm with another cunning plan; they are going to steal the fat red hen. Luckily, the unlikely hero, the ladybird is on their trail, and she and her farm animal friends hatch a plan of their own.
The vibrant illustrations by Lydia Monks are a delightful accompaniment to the text and add another level of humour. Children will love the tactile element of the book with each page containing glitter in some part of the illustration for children to touch, feel and follow. The illustrator has also added textured material within the illustrations, including the clothing and the sheep's wool. Children will also love hunting for the sparkly ladybird on each page. This is such a fun, action-packed read, filled with animal noises, humour and fun rhyme. A perfect adventure for pre-school and early primary, with plentiful teaching points around narrative, rhyme, language and art. The rhythm of the text also lends itself to song.
Nicole Nelson