When Uno arrives in the forest on beautiful day, there are many fascinating and extraordinary animals there to greet him. And one entirely unexceptional Snortlepig.
Uno loves the forest so much, he decides to live there. But, in time, a little village grows up around his house. Then a town, then a city... and soon Uno realises that the animals and plants have begun to disappear...
From the creator of the international bestsellers Animalia, The Waterhole and Jungle Dreams, here is an illuminating blend of storybook, puzzle book and numbers book - a moving and timely tale about how we all unknowingly affect the environment around us, just by being there, and how we can always learn from our mistakes and find ways of doing things better.
Having been exposed to Graeme Base's works in the past, I was very excited back in May when my eldest daughter was given Uno's Garden for her birthday. The front cover is bright, and engaging. You can see Uno and all the interesting animals in his garden. The blue border around the image really draws the eye inwards.
Inside the book, the illustrations continue to be amazing. There is so much detail, that you can pour over a page for a long time and not see everything. This is typical of Base's books which follow a puzzle style. There is a lot going on in this book! On the face of it, it's a nice little story. You can just enjoy it for the story that it is. This a bit of an eco-tale. It shows the damage that humans can do to an environment, as well as the hope that there is in us to be able to undo that damage.
Beyond the tale, there is also a counting game and puzzle which can be as simple or complex as the reader is able to attempt. So the animals are counted from 10 to 0 and then back to 10. However, there are also loads of plants in multiples of 10 and buildings too. So you can do counting to a good level, which would suit all ages through primary school. The best thing is the story is a quick but fun read and is easily engaging.
I have always been fascinated with Base's books, loving both his artwork and hunting through each page for all of the listed items as well as many unlisted ones as well - you just never know what's hiding in amongst the pages of his books!!! This beautiful book is filled with Graeme's well known style of art, as well as weaving a cute and rather moving story about little Uno settling down in a stunning forest with strange and wonderful creatures, and how it soon becomes nothing but buildings, the plants and creatures that captured Uno's interest no longer there. Somewhere on each page is the sad-looking, supposedly ordinary Snortlepig, who is forced to watch his home destroyed by the humans, until even he has disappeared - or has he??
This is a great book that teaches children several things: maths skills (from simple addition, to multiplication and division), and just how important it is to look after the environment, or we risk losing it all if we get the balance wrong. Children, from babies to 7-8 year olds, will all find something in this book to interest them. The beautiful pictures and the story will enthral the younger ones, whereas the fun of hunting for all the creatures, houses, plants etc will engage most of the older ones' interest. A great book for kids and parents alike. Out of all of Graeme Base's books, Uno's Garden definitely sits at the top of the list for me, and I would class this as one of the best childrens books of this type out there!!
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