Board Book Look (1): The Swing & Saffy and Ollie
One word immediately comes to mind when I think about The Swing and that word is joy! This is an utter gem of a board book, featuring glorious illustrations by Morstad to accompany the charming poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. There is something about this poem that takes me back to my childhood- perhaps I had it read to me when I was young, or it could be that it just exudes a feeling of happy nostalgia. That nostalgic feeling may also exist because this poem- perhaps due to certain key words or imagery- makes me think back to a beloved passage I read over (and over) again as a child: that of Winnie-the-Pooh, holding onto a balloon, sweetly singing ‘every little cloud, always sings aloud‘.
The lilting, uninhibited verse of Stevenson’s poem is, I think, perfectly expressed by Morstad’s buoyant yet serene illustrations. You can take a peak at some more of the delightful illustrations here on Morstad’s site. Overall, I just love this board book and would highly recommend it to little ones and adults alike.
Saffy and Ollie is an adorably illustrated board book from Poala Opal’s Simply Small series of titles. We have a cute-as-can-be giraffe, Saffy- rolling a rock along a green hill- who meets a cute-as-can-be elephant, Ollie, who asks to join in on the playing and fun. Will Saffy share and welcome a friend?
While I usually prefer board books for babies to be light on text, I actually think that this title in particular may have benefited from more detail. It might be because the illustrations are so dreamy and darling that the limited text reads as a bit blunt- especially as Saffy does not allow Ollie to join in on her fun with a ‘no, it’s my rock’ but then almost immediately needs Ollie’s help when her rock gets stuck. Everything turns out well in the end when Ollie, clearly understanding and demonstrating very good friend behavior, comes to Saffy’s rescue. Saffy then learns how nice it can be to play and share with a friend, and how meaningful a ‘please’ can be.
I will say that overall, even though I personally found the text a tad clipped for this sweet story, Saffy and Ollie is undoubtedly the kind of board book that will make you go ‘aww’ and one that would likely be popular at libraries and homes for its winning appearance and well-meaning message. I am very interested in exploring the rest of the titles in the Simply Small series- there looks to be a great variety in titles and learning themes (and plenty more adorable animals!).
*Hardcopies were provided courtesy of Simply Read Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own*