At the beach! in the street! Nellie Belle has friends to meet! Wouldn't you like to join her? Meet Nellie Belle, a dog who has fun....everywhere! Well, mostly.
To be honest when I first saw this book I really didn't know what to expect. The front cover had a very simple picture of a dog and its teddy so I was pleasantly surprised when I first opened it this book to find illustrations that were full of colour and detail. I loved the way that the illustrator has captured texture in his pictures and even the dog's tail shows movement.
I first read this book to myself and was unsure whether my boys would enjoy this story. I didn't need to be worried as my youngest one just loved listening to the rhythm and rhyme. He very quickly learnt to say Nellie Belle which is repeat so many times throughout the book. This book quickly became his book and he carried it around with him.
Mr 4 took a different approach to this book. He decided that he was a little too old for this story so instead decided that he was going to learn the words and read it to his younger brother. It only took a couple of reads and Mr 4 had this book memorised. He then continued to read it to his younger brother but what surprised me was he also stopped and talked about the child related pictures with him in a totally different way than an adult would.
Although unsure about this book at the beginning I am stoked to now have this on the book shelf. It gives me great pleasure in listening to Mr 4 read to Mr 1 and the catchy tune of this book echoes from the bedroom or the back of the car many times a day (even if the book is not in sight).
Nellie Belle is a lovely picture with bold primary colours and simple drawings that very young children can enjoy. There is lots of repetition to encourage memorising the story and also to reinforce early word recognition. Miss Three really enjoyed the repetition and joined in readily with me as I read it with her. Mr Six found it too repetitive and simple. He did enjoy the illustrations and found them fun to look at. He sat with me a number of times while I read it to Miss Three and then gave up and decided that he was no longer interested. Miss Three was happy for me to read it over and over again. The target audience is definitely the younger children and it was perfect for Miss Three.
There is a strong message that when you are scared or it is getting dark the safest place to be is in your own bed. I actually got to refer to this book today as Miss Three was very upset. I asked her where Nellie Belle went when she was scared. Miss Three knew that her bed was the place to be and that it was safe. I think I need to keep that reference in my mind for future episodes like today!
The illustrations are clear and involve strong, bright colours. Nellie Belle shows a high level of energy in the imagery and it enhances the text. The book taps into the playfulness of puppies and the link between children and pets.
I really had to laugh when I asked the kids what the book might be about. They gave the obvious about the puppy and the teddy. Mr Six also said that there was a mean fox in the book. I struggled to work out how he got that from the illustration. We read the book and I still didn't see a mean fox. It wasn't until we had read the book a couple of times that I finally asked him about the fox. He showed me the name of the author on the front...Mem Fox. He really was looking at everything on the front cover when he was predicting what might be in the book. It gave me a giggle.
I like the fact the book has a hard cover. It always portrays a sense of quality and a book that one might expect to be read over and over again. It is also so much nicer to hold than a paperback.
This a rather charming book for little ones. I know that I have read it over and over to Miss Three and I think that it is likely that I have many more readings of it to go!
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