Today I’m sharing a brilliant interactive, wonderfully informative picture book about the weird and wonderful noises animals make. Why do owls hoot? Why do cats purr? Can you curl up like a sleepy snake?
I also have a special Q&A from author Moira Butterfield about the inspiration and processes behind creating her two fabulous animal picture books.
‘Hoot like an owl, howl like a wolf, and sing like a whale. Everyone needs to get their message and feelings across, animals included! Meet a collection of 12 animals from around the world and discover the sounds they make, and why. The book features a different creature on each spread, along with dynamic type design and illustrations to help the kids mimic each animal noise.’
Time to hear from the author…
Author Moira Butterfield has given us some fascinating answers to questions put to her about her new book ‘Sing Like a Whale,’ the follow-up to ‘Dance Like a Flamingo.’
What was the idea behind the two books?
Sharing a book should be a fun experience. That way everybody wins and will want to do it again! The books get kids moving and making sounds, so they really get immersed in the book-sharing process. I guess we could call it immersive writing and it’s a characteristic of all my work nowadays. A sharing book isn’t just about words. It’s also about how they are used by readers, and I try to give them all the help I can – with a good clear reading rhythm and plenty of liveliness to work with.
There are animal facts to learn, too – Why does a whale sing anyhow? Why does an owl hoot or a lion roar? I think that doing the sounds along with simple actions alongside the facts is a really powerful way to get kids interested in the animal world.
How did you decide which animals went into the books?
Firstly readers need to be roughly familiar with the animals we’re covering so they will have some idea what the movements and sounds will be. There are no obscure ones to puzzle over. Secondly I think about the children who will be making the movements and sounds. Though my own kids are now too grown-up to help Mum with her picture books I have a very helpful young niece, Milly, who’s prepared to try out my ideas with me! Working with her it soon becomes clear what sounds and actions will and won’t work. That’s why I dedicated the book to helpful Milly!
Gwen Millward’s lively clear illustrations really help, of course! They get everyone in the mood to do some great animal-copying.
What’s your favourite illustration in the Sing Like a Whale book?
That’s a hard one! I love the very first spread, where a little boy meets a big friendly whale. I also love the gorgeous golden roaring lion, perhaps because I’m a Leo!
What are your favourite animal noises in the book?
I like howling like a wolf and whooping like a gibbon! I really enjoy singing, too, like the little humans at the end of the book. I sing to myself all day long. I’m a great whistler, by the way. I think it’s an under-rated human skill.
Are you writing another book with Welbeck Publishing?
Yes, there’s something new and top-secret in the works! I can say it will be immersive for readers, and this time I think I’ll be asking my little 3 year-old nephew Oscar for his expert advice. Watch this space!
Sing Like a Whale by Moira Butterfield, illustrated by Gwen Millward (£12.99, Welbeck Children’s) available now.
Dance Like a Flamingo by Moira Butterfield, illustrated by Claudia Boldt (£12.99, Welbeck Children’s) available now.
I think it was a very smart idea of Moira’s to test out all the animals and actions on her young niece. The interactive nature of the book, full of stomping and howling, was one of my favourite features. I’m just picturing myself using it during a story time with a class full of children up on their feet, having a blast! It would also be really fun to create additional pages which could go in the books. What animals would you feature? What noises do they make and why? What actions would you need to do?
The facts included and vocabulary used were pitched perfectly for its intended audience, and Gwen Millward’s glorious illustrations added extra energy and fun to a truly engaging book for little ones aged 3+
*Many thanks to Welbeck Editions for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour*