Alison Reynolds (text) Mikki Butterley (illus.), The Playground Meanies: all about being kind with Pickle and Bree, The Five Mile Press, February 2017, 32pp., $14.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760400644
Alison Reynolds (text) Mikki Butterley (illus.), The Big Snow Adventure: all about respecting rules with Pickle and Bree, The Five Mile Press, February 2017, 32pp., $14.99 (hbk), ISBN 978176040061
Pickle, a big brown bear, and Bree, a small girl, are the main characters in this fun series of picture books. Together with their friends, both human and animal, they go about their day interacting and learning to be more thoughtful. The Playground Meanies deals with bullying and learning to treat others with kindness and respect while The Big Snow Adventure is about following rules and respecting other people’s space.
Alison Reynolds’ stories reinforce positive behaviour in a way that children of lower and middle primary school age can easily relate to. Together, the characters learn to share and play harmoniously, enjoying themselves while being aware of the needs of those around them. They discover that everything is more fun when they are kind and respectful towards everyone. The stories are interesting and entertaining with a good combination of animals and humans, which children will find engaging. With each lesson learnt in a gentle and creative way, peace and balance are restored and those involved are much wiser and happier at the end.
Each book finishes with a “Guide to Good Deeds” which reinforces and summarises what the story teaches in five succinct points which will lead easily into discussions. Both parents and teachers will find these books useful in teaching children social skills, relationships and successful ways to solve problems.
The cartoon-like illustrations by Mikki Butterley are colourful and expressive and together with the embossed and glossy front covers and bright endpapers are attractive features of this series.
Suitable for 4 to 10 year old children, these books can be good teaching resources while delivering positive messages in a way children will understand and enjoy.
Reviewed by Grace Nolan