Felix discovers the magic of nature in this book when the moon beckons him from his bed. He dances off into the night, making friends with a parade of creatures (and even the elements) who help him in their different ways to find his own way back home.
Small children are encouraged to daydream, make a rainbow, and be a caretaker of nature. Teaching notes are included at the end of the book so that pre-schoolers can learn to explore the natural world about them.
Although this is a story that deals in abstracts, it was surprisingly easy for Miss Four to understand the basic ideas. The cover gives a clue as to the content - love, cuddles, being grateful, and being surrounded by other creatures that are there for you. After reading it through a couple of times, she actually went out into the garden and thanked the flowers and bees just for being themselves!
The beautiful illustrations captivated both children. They understood that the author was also the artist - something very appropriate as the pictures and text dovetail so well. Mr Two loved flicking through the pages and describing what was happening on each one. His favourite was the page where the last puff of Storm resulted in a rainbow. The idea of Felix riding the rainbow was fascinating; Mr Two thought he would like to jump on it and slide down too. What fun!
The learning notes at the back of the book offered some wonderful ideas to follow up. Both children were keen to discuss the different ways they could interact with Nature and move around as different creatures do. There were extension possibilities for learning through Science, Drama, Art, and Horticulture. Children are never too young to learn environmental awareness, and when the ideas are presented through pictures and a simple storyline they become highly accessible even to the youngest child. Miss Four was prompted to try and make friends with a tree, while Mr Two explored artistic possibilities using flowers, leaves, and feathers from the garden.
The children especially loved the picture of the child in bed, safely snuggled up with all his toys and animal friends. He looks very secure with the sheets pulled up to his chin and a huge smile on his face. Childhood should always be like this, with the bed the equivalent of a nest. The child with his "mouth full of yawn" is relaxed and ready to sleep so he will be fresh to face the next day. Everyone the child has met in the course of the story has been friendly towards him, but has also made it clear that everyone has his personal safe place.
The endpapers are covered in animal graphics; both children had fun identifying them. A few were unfamiliar so adult assistance was required, but they managed to score most of them unaided. The idea that animals and plants help look after us is a wonderful inspiration for little ones to learn their place in the world. It is all too easy to take other organisms for granted; an alert child, however, will see the value in the companionship of a dog, or the shade of a tree when the weather is warm, or even the cooling touch of rain on the skin when summer offers long, dry days. "Thank you" is a phrase that should be in every child's vocabulary!
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