Saturday, August 31, 2019

Story Time Stars by Stephanie Owen Reader

Take a close look at this cover. The subtitle says Favourite Characters from Australian Picture Books. Can you see Max (Bob Graham), The Muddle Headed Wombat (Ruth Park and Noela Young), and The Green Sheep (Mem Fox and Judy Horacek)?  You really need to see this book to appreciate the beautiful production and the gold front cover. This photo does not do it justice.

This is a book for all Australian children's literature fans. It begins with the period 1910-1930 and in this section you will find well known characters such as Snugglepot and Cuddlepie; Blinky Bill and The Magic Pudding.  Many of my own favourite characters are included - Wombat Divine; Drac and the Gremlin; Koala Lou; John Brown (John Brown, Rose and the midnight cat), Biff and Buff (The Pocket dogs); Dougal the Garbage dump Bear; Edward the Emu; and Dingo (Wombat Stew).  Here is my favourite page:

Image source Booktopia:

I expected to know all the characters in this book so it was a surprise to discover a little duck called Quippy (1946). This book was illustrated by Walter Cunningham - the husband of Noela Young. I read an article in The Canberra Times which explained this little book was a favourite of author Stephanie Owen Reader.

I had also never heard of Ambrose Kangaroo by Elizabeth MacIntyre (1941).

Each page is written by the book character. There is a brief plot outline, full page illustration, story quote and information under a set of headings:

  • Bought to you by (author and illustrator)
  • Debut (Publisher and year)
  • Encores (other formats of the book)
  • Stage and Screen
  • International appearances
  • Awards

It is easy to see the enormous amount of research that has gone into this book.
Here are just a few of the very interesting things I discovered:

  • The Terrible Plop (Ursula Dubosarsky) was made into a play and even performed in New York City.
  • Where is the Green Sheep (Mem Fox) can be read by children in Russia, Vietnam, China, South Korea and Spain
  • The Sydney Symphony Orchestra performed a musical version of Fox (Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks) in 2000
  • There is a statue of Grandma Poss (Possum Magic Mem Fox and Julie Vivas) at the State Library of Victoria. They also have a statue of Bunyip (The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek Jenny Wagner and Ron Brooks).
  • Princess Mary of Denmark was given a copy of There's a Hippopotamus on our Roof eating Cake by the Australian government

From August, 2019 tile early February 2020 the National Library of Australia in Canberra will host an exhibition entitled Story Time: Australian Children's Literature. This is the companion book to the exhibition. Read this interview with Dr Belle Alderman by Kids Book Review where she talks about the treasures held in our National Centre for Australian Children' Literature.

My next step will be to use the index to make a list of Australian classic picture books that I must share with you on this blog. Top of my list is John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat.

The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren

I recently listed to a podcast by Fuse8n'Kate where Betsy Bird and her sister Kate talked about this American classic, a Little Golden Book, called The Poky Little Puppy. They made lots of interesting comments. Of course I had seen copies of this book in bookshops and in department stores but I had never actually read it. I was amazed to discover this is one of the best selling children's books of all time having sold over 15 million copies. Are you curious to know the other best sellers?

1. Poky Little Puppy
2. The Tale of Peter Rabbit
3. Tootle by Gertrude Crampton (I don't know this one so I've included the cover)
4. Green Eggs and Ham
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The Poky Little puppy was one of the first twelve Little Golden Books. It was published in 1942. Little Golden Books were popular because they only cost twenty-five cents. It's fun to link this with the copy I bought at a recent charity book sale which cost fifty cents for a mint condition copy. I guess with 15 million of these books floating around the world it is easy to see why more than one copy was for sale at my local book fair.

Here are the first twelve Little Golden Books:

There are many people who have written about The Poky Little Puppy. I am going to focus on why I think it appeals to very young children and linked with this why grandparents remember it fondly.

1. Puppies are adorable. In this book there are five. The illustration where the four good puppies are tucked up under their blankets is just so cheeky.  Their eyes are wide open as they wait to see what will happen to their naughty brother.

2. Everyone loves a rebel. The fifth puppy is so naughty but not in a dangerous way - he is just a mischief maker and what about the rewards!

3. Which leads to my third reason - the food. The puppy smells rice pudding, the puppy hears chocolate custard and finally the puppy sees a strawberry which can only mean one thing - strawberry shortcake.  Can you see what is happening here?  This is a common story device where the character, in this case the Poky Puppy, uses each of his senses in his quest for dessert.

4. Notice all the repetition. This gives the story a structure and predictability.  There are the repeated actions of through the meadow, down the road, over the bridge, across the grass and up the hill.  On each outing our puppy is missing. Three times we read these words as his siblings try to find him:

"And down they went to see, roly-poly, pell-mell, tumble-bumble, they came to the green grass, and there they stopped short.  'What in the world are you doing?' they asked."

5. Look at these words - onomatopoeia - pell-mell, tumble-bumble, roly-poly.  These are so lively and playful.

6. Numbers. Each time we need to count those puppies. One, two, three, four - where is the fifth puppy?  The action happens over three days. There are three desserts. The mother writes three warning signs and the puppies venture out exploring three times.

If I was going to make any criticism of this book, the aspect that has always puzzled me is the word poky.  When I read a dictionary it defines this word as small and cramped. I guess for this book the word relates to the puppy poking his nose into adventure. I think the pup should instead be called curious or naughty or even clever.

Over the years quite a lot of merchandise has been made celebrating this book along with a television series and other spin off books using a different author/illustrator.

I discovered there are two sequels by Janette Sebring Lowrey  - Where is the Poky Little Puppy? and The Poky Little Puppy's first Christmas.  If this post has made you nostalgic click here to listen to the original vinyl record of the Poky Little Puppy.

I didn't read this book as a child but I have a memory of another puppy book which may have been a Little Golden Book. It was about a set of pups who all find homes but one is left over and on Christmas morning he appears in the Christmas stocking of a little boy who had asked Santa for a pup. I wish I knew the title. It is a book I'd love to see again.

I have enjoyed digging into the background of The Poky Little Puppy. Gustaf Tenggren was a Swedish illustrator who migrated to the US in 1920. He worked for Disney and then he illustrated several Little Golden Books.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Winnie-the-Pooh's 50 things to do before you're 5 3/4

Full of adventure, expotitions and muddy puddles

I spied this book in an art gallery in Inverness. The title looked appealing. I think I will gift this to a young family who have a new son. There are so many terrific and easy ideas in this little book and it is filled with Winnie-the-Pooh quotes and EH Sheppard original illustrations. If I was with a young child or two for the day I would like to invent cloud stories, host a teddy bears picnic, play hopscotch and feed the ducks at my lake. I think that would be a very satisfying day indeed.

"Without Pooh' said Rabbit solemnly as he sharpened his pencil, 'the adventure would be impossible."

"Christopher Robin was sitting outside his door, putting on his Big Boots. As soon as he saw the Big Boots, Pooh knew that an Adventure was going to happen."

"Tracks,' said Piglet. 'Pawmarks.' He gave a little squeak of excitement. 'Oh, Pooh! Do you thing it's a -a-a- Woozle?"

Here are some easy ideas:
34 Play Hide and Seek
31 Skipping
37 Make a hum
18 Bounce like Tigger
27 Cloud stories

Here are some creative ideas:
4 Forest in a bottle
11 Pebble pets
14 Shadow puppets
6 Fingerprint animals
2 Trunk patterns

Here are some outdoor ideas:
30 Watch the sunrise and sunset
45 Fly a kite
35 Build a sandcastle
43 Poohsticks
50 Camp out

This book is a nostalgic, sweet reminder to get on those wellies, breath in some beautiful fresh air and go on a mini adventure! Mum of Two Bumbling Through

Here is a companion volume:

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Bear's Winter House by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake

"If you help me you can share my winter house."

Poor bear. It is time to hibernate. He wants to be comfortable through those long cold months. He finds a house plan and he is begins to build a perfect shelter.  In scenes reminiscent of The Little Red Hen, the other animals of the forest arrive and scoff!  They think his idea is silly but when winter comes they see Bear's shelter works much better than the flimsy homes where they are trying to stay warm. One at a time each of the forest animals, the squirrel, hedgehog, hen and pig, arrive at Bears winter house. Bear could turn them away but instead he says "come in".  Keep in mind Bear built this house to stay warm and to hibernate. His house is now crowded and so very very noisy. How will Bear ever get back to sleep?

Read this book on a cold winter day.  Here is a set of ideas to use with pre school children if you are exploring the idea of hibernation.  I found this list of other fiction and non fiction books on this topic. This book was first published in 1969 but my copy is from 2009 and is a larger format with a different cover. I am happy to see it is still in print.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell

From the first pages I knew I was going to love this book. Vita travels to 1920s New York with her mother. Her beloved grandfather is alone in the world now because his wife, Vita's grandmother, has died. Vita bursts into her grandfathers tiny apartment and he greets her with her nick name - Rapscallion. I adore the ring of that word - here it is again Rapscallion. Vita has a talent and a handicap - perhaps these things balance each other out. Her talent is accurate throwing of small objects such as stones. She can be so precise that right at the start of this book she hits the head of a seagull in flight - not to kill it but to send it away from the young crow it is attacking. Later she throws stones at the mathematical centre of her wardrobe door. She seems to do all of this with ease and we learn she does this because it allows her to think and solve problems. Her disability comes from the polio she contracted as a young child.

"Her left calf was thinner than her right, and her left foot curved in on itself. ... She could run, though it made the muscles pull and burn ... she never breathed a word about that particular pain."

Vita has a very serious problem to solve. Her grandfather used to live in a castle on the Hudson River in New York city but recently a millionaire con man by the name of Victor Sorrotore has swindled Grandpa and he no longer has his castle home. But there is more. Grandpa explains there is an emerald pendant hidden in the castle. It is worth thousands. Vita now knows what to do. She must get inside the castle, find the emerald, present it to Grandpa and he can buy back his castle and his happiness will be restored.

Vita knows what has to be done but she needs help.  She spies two boys outside her window. They are both quite small and she watches in amazement as one jumps right out of a third storey window onto a thin mattress. These boys are circus performers. Vita, Arkday, Samuel and a girl from the streets called Silk form a gang with the purpose of 'stealing' back the emerald but first Vita must deal with Sorrotore.

You need to understand this man is thoroughly evil. He is a gangster. In his office Vita sees two tortoises. They have rubies and diamonds set into their shells spelling out the words Imperium (power) and Vita (life).

"Doesn't it hurt them?" asked Vita."
Sorrotore replies:
"Hurt them? Don't be crazy - they're animals."

I read this book compulsively on a long plane flight and then felt sad, as I do with all fabulous books, that the glorious experience of reading was over. For a few hours I was with Vita. I felt her heartache and her excruciating pain. I held my breath each time she encountered Sorrotore and I cheered at the wonderful team work and loyalty of her friends as they race to retrieve the emerald.

Something you need to know about Katherine Rundell. She likes to truly experience the activities and actions of her characters. She once ate a tarantula so she could accurately describe the taste for her book The Explorer. For this book, The Good Thieves, she wanted to know about tight-rope walking. At the Sydney Writers Festival this year she told her young audience how she has broken 'all' her toes trying to walk across a rope in her own living room. I remembered author Michelle Paver talked about this same idea at an event I attended in 2000. Michelle talked about her series The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. For her books, Michelle swam with killer whales and she learned to skin and dismember elk and reindeer not wasting any part of the beast - a skill vital to the survival of the Inuit people. These stories, which show a true passion for authenticity by Katherine and Michelle, just captivate me.

I absolutely adore the writing of Katherine Rundell.  A few days ago our ABC Radio National included an interview with Katherine where she talked about why adults should be reading children's books. Of course she said all the things I believe but far more eloquently. Listen here from 43 minutes into the 57 minute program. I love that she mentions A Wizard of Earthsea.

Talking about Children's Literature here some of Katherine's words from this interview:

"A casket of wonders" "galvanic kick that can change your life" "precision of language" "distillation" "condense your writing into something sharp" "a bright bold way to think about the things that are most important to us"

Here is hardcover edition of The Good Thieves:

You can listen to an audio sample here from page 5 until the early in Chapter Two. In this video Katherine reads an extract which really demonstrates the way this story is so action packed. This book reminded me of The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo and The Billionaires Curse by Richard Newsome. You might also look for The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke and an older Australian title The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen by Deb Abela.

Click on each of these quotes for more plot details of The Good Thieves.

Narrow squeaks aplenty combine with bursts of lyrical prose for a satisfying adventure. Kirkus

There are twists and turns but not a page is wasted. Fabulous, interesting and genuine characters paired with a clever edge-of-your seat plot make this one a cracker!  Readings Melbourne

As always, Rundell’s writing is swift and breathless, propelling the reader through the text like a glider through air, swooping and diving in and out of the plot, with short paragraphs and snippy dialogue. She uses simile and metaphor with the precision of a knife thrower. She cuts through excess, landing each word with specificity and wisdom. Minerva Reads

Other books by Katherine Rundell I have mentioned in this blog:

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Zoom by Istvan Banyai

Tuesday Treasure

Zoom is a wordless book (IBBY call them Silent books) with a powerful story that will surprise you as you turn every page. I do think it is important to experience this book from the paper copy but here is a special video with perfect sound effects. When you watch this video I think you will agree Zoom is quite unique. It also a book you can read from front to back and back to front. If you want to share this book with a whole class here is a slide share of each page and this might be a better way to approach this book as you can move more slowly than the video.

I am happy to report this book is still in print and there is a companion volume which is slightly more sophisticated.  My former library have discarded this second book but luckily it is still in print.

Istvan Banyai was born in Hungry but now lives in Connecticut USA.

Zoom Kirkus - "the effect is of a movie camera panning backward, faster and faster ... "
Re-Zoom Kirkus - "Like Chinese boxes in reverse, each colorful illustration is revealed as part of a larger artwork."

If you want to explore a different poetry form with a class, sijo from Korea is interesting. Here is a book of poems by Linda Sue Park illustrated by Istvan Banyai. Take a look here to see some examples of sijo.

Monday, August 26, 2019

The Bush Jumper by Jean Chapman illustrated by Ali Beck

Koala comes home from a bush sale with a bag of colourful knitting wool. She tells Mitti she will knit her a jumper. Mitti says:

"I want a jumper that looks like wattle blossom. ... Yellowy-yellow, please!"

Koala knits and knits. This is a very special gift. You can see her here sitting on a beautiful chair which is covered in flannel flower fabric!

Koala starts the second sleeve. This is the final part of the jumper. The wool runs out.  "A scrap of wool hung from her needle like a piece of limp spaghetti." Koala has no more yellow wool. She declares:  "I'll make a striped sleeve."

"This is a bushland jumper, Mitti. Yellow for wattle blossom, green for gum leaves, pink for boronia flowers, and blue for summer skies."

Mitti is not happy. She thinks the odd sleeve in all those colours looks horrible. Her friends, on the other hand, love her jumper. Echinda tries it on but he is too prickly and the jumper now has holes all over. Emu tries on the jumper but has trouble fitting it over her neck. Wombat is next in line but his tummy is fat and the jumper is stretched and stretched. By now the jumper is hideously misshapen and Mitti feels sad. Luckily Koala knows how to solve this - she gently washes the beautiful jumper and restores it. Then uses her other balls of wool to knit gifts for Mitti's friends. A nose warmer for Echidna, a pink scarf for Emu, and an extra big green jumper for Wombat.

Yesterday I visited a charity book fair where I found lots of treasured books. I am collecting up to 90 Australian children's picture books for our IBBY Australia event in 2020.  They will be added to our lucky dip bags. Last year we did Hans Christian Andersen bags as our IBBY event celebrates International Children's Book Day which happens on 2nd April - the birthday of HCA. This time I am focusing on fabulous Australian books like this one.

I seems The Bush Jumper is perhaps the only book Ali Beck has illustrated. Take a look at her gallery - she does beautiful work.

I would pair The Bush Jumper with other books about knitting (thanks to my friend at Kinderbookswitheverything) such as Lester's dreadful Sweaters and No Roses for Harry by Gene Zion.

I have loved this quirky little book, The Bush Jumper, since it was first published in 1998. It should be on my Tuesday Treasure list.  I happy to see it was reprinted in 2011 and it is still available.  I was a little surprised to see Jean Chapman from Australia (1926-2012) identified as the Jean Chapman romance writer from UK. Our Jean Chapman was the author of some wonderful book such as the rich anthologies - Velvet Paws and whiskers; Pancakes; The Sugar Plum Christmas Book and Painted Eggs and Cockatoo Soup. All of these would be in most Australian Primary school libraries. Jean also wrote terrific short stories and picture books. On a personal note I did my first Teacher-Librarian course with her daughter Louise.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Stepping Stones: A Refugee family's Journey by Margriet Ruurs illustrated by Nizar Ali Badrby

Look at the words from Kirkus. I love the word - ASTONISHING! This book is so important it should be a part of every library collection - school libraries and public libraries. I am saying this because I know this book was not purchased by any of the public libraries near my home and only one local school had a copy which sadly they could not find. One small fact that might convince you of the importance of this book. I was very happy to read sales of this book in Canada raised $60,000 for refugees.

Another measure of the importance of this book. I have discovered it has been translated into Dutch, German, Vietnamese, Turkish, Portuguese, Korean and Spanish. In 2017 this book won the Bolen Children's Book Award in Canada (Vancouver Island City of Victoria).

I highly recommend you take a couple of minutes and watch this video which shows Nizar Ali Badr at work creating his stepping stone illustration. You can see full size photos of his work on this BBC News site. Stepping Stones was included with the Lamont Standing order in 2017 and they also provided a set of teaching ideas. If you need further ideas here are a set of notes from University of Queensland Press.

Here is the blurb:

"Rama and her family are forced to leave behind everything they know and love. With only what they can carry on their backs, Rama's family sets out to find refuge in Europe."

You can read more about this book on the Stepping Stones website.

Every public and school library will want this book. It’s so important for us to try to understand the plight of people whose countries have been torn apart by war. Stepping Stones allows us to enter into the feelings and experiences of a young refugee girl, and by so doing, get an idea of her past and her future. It’s a moving story, and one that I hope touches many hearts. The Book Chook

For further reading about the Refugee Experience using picture books take a look at my Pinterest collection.  I would begin with The Colour of Home by Mary Hoffman, Azzi in between by Sarah Garland, Where will I Live and Out by Angela May George.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Secret Life of a Tiger by Przemystaw Wechterowicz illustrated by Emilia Dziubak

In his secret life Tiger doesn't eat the other animals of the forest - he surprises them in a helpful way. He chops up fruit salad for the baby elephant, gives the orangutans a new hairstyle, on finding some parrot eggs be puts them back in the nest and keeps them warm until they hatch and he builds the ants a fabulous new anthill - it looks like the Colosseum.

The beginning of this story is a little confusing because the Tiger does eat hunters although explains he "I always try to swallow my guests whole. And I swear by my father's tail that I do it with love."

One way you might use this book is to talk about all the verbs:

  • creep up on the elephant
  • sneak up on the orangutans
  • pounce on the eggs
  • hypnotize the ants
  • leap among the tapirs

I picked up this book in a bookshop last week for three reasons. I needed a book to read to a Kindergarten class. I own a fabulous toy tiger and he loves to hide in my library bag. I was looking for books with a global connection because the school I visited during Book Week have 'connecting to the world' as their theme this year. I was pleased to find a book from Poland! Sadly it didn't really work as a one off read-aloud with this group of children aged 4-6 but I think you could read to a class if you take the time to discuss the idea of tricksters, truth and the concept of an off stage narrator. The reviewer at the Book Bag explains the confusion readers may have over the story line but, like me, he loved the illustrations. If you need a book showing how illustrations can go far beyond a simple text The Secret Life of a Tiger would be perfect.

On this page the words say:
"I hypnotize busy ants with my stare and with one flick of my tail ... build them a magnificent anthill!"

Most children will recognize the tiger as an unreliable narrator and enjoy the silliness of his assertions Kirkus

This is a beautifully illustrated whimsical take on the life of the tiger. School Zone

Prezemystaw Wechterowicz is from Poland and he is the author of over thirty books. Emilia Dziubak also lives in Poland. Here is another book (in English) by this creative team:

And here is a book illustrated by Emilia Dziubak - the title is Chocolate Day - I wish there was an English translation. You can see more illustrations from this book here.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Thank you, Omu! Oge Mora

This week I was lucky to celebrate Book Week in a small rural Steiner school. I took along around 60 picture books and spent the day sharing stories with four different classes. I did intend to read Thank you, Omu! with the Preschool and Kinder group but at the last minute I changed my plan. Sadly the book I did read - The secret life of a Tiger by Przemystaw Wechterowicz, was not as successful as I would have liked.  I did read 1 is for One and this was a huge hit with these little listeners.

I wish I read read Thank you Omu! because is allows for participation which I think works well with a group of very young children. Omu (pronounced AH-moo) is cooking a pot of thick red stew for her evening meal. She hears a knock on the door - KNOCK! When she opens the door she finds a little boy who has smelled "the most delicious smell."  There is plenty of stew so Omu spoons some into a bowl for the boy. He says thank you and goes on his way.

Omu goes back to reading her book when she hears KNOCK KNOCK on her door. It is the local police offer. He also smelled "the most delicious smell."  Omu still has plenty to share so she shares some with the police officer to take home for his evening meal.

Omu once again goes back to her book when KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK the hot dog vendor arrives. He has smelled "the most delicious smell." Omu shares some stew with the vendor.  And so her evening continues.

She feeds a shop owner, a cab driver, a doctor, an actor, a lawyer, a dancer, a baker, an artist, a singer, an athlete, a bus driver, a construction worker and the town mayor.  The night grows dark and it is time for Omu to enjoy her evening meal but when she picks up her pot of thick red stew it is EMPTY.

Once again there is a knock on the door.


A lovely story of giving and community founded in Nigerian culture. Delectable. Kirkus Star review

Mora times her story perfectly, with each beat in the right place and repetition that will encourage participation from a group. This will be an ideal volume to use any time sharing is the theme. Horn Book

Omu is the Nigerian word for queen but for the author it meant Grandma. Read more about Oge Mora on her web site. Here is a video reading of the whole book. Thank you Omu won the Coretta Scott King new talent/new illustrator award in 2019. On the Little Brown web site the author talks about her book. This book also won the Ezra Jack Keats illustration award for 2019.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

How to be a Lion by Ed Vere

Some say words can't change the world.
Leonard says if they make you think,
then maybe they can.

Leonard is a different. He is not fierce. He would rather make friends with Marianne, a duck. He has no intention of eating her with a crunch, crunch, chomp. The other lions are astounded. Lions are meant to hunt in packs. They are meant to eat ducks. They are certainly NOT meant to make friends with other animals and even worse write poetry.  Leonard, however, is determined to prove them wrong. He has no intention of eating his friend. He spends some time on his thinking hill and eventually he devises the perfect plan. And yes it is a poem.

"The idea grew
They put their words together like this like that
building them into a poem
that made sense of what they thought."

Leonard recites his poem to the other lions. It is a powerful piece of persuasion. Words can change the world!

"Why don't you be you ...
And I will be I."

How to be a Lion was the winner of the 2019 Oscars Book Prize. Kirkus said this book is marvelous. Book Trust said this book is perfect.

I discovered How to be a Lion when I was talking about Almost Anything by Sophy Henn. Reading How to be a Lion this week I saw the words I quoted at the start of this post. They have come at exactly the right time. Each year IBBY Australia host a special event here in Sydney to celebrate International Children's Book Day.  In 2020 this event will be held on Saturday 4th April and Maxine Beneba Clarke (one of our speakers) has given us permission to use a quote which I found on her booking agency profile page:

words change the world

This quote will be the title for our day. We have invited Maxine Beneba Clarke and Gabrielle Wang to speak at our afternoon event in Strathfield.  Maxine is the author of Patchwork Bike which recently won Boston Globe Horn Book Award. Her most recent book for children is Fashionista. Gabrielle Wang is the author of over twenty books including Wishbird and The Beast of Hushing Wood.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Bear Hunt Anthony Browne

Tuesday Treasure

You may have heard of the idea of a picture book 'breaking the fourth wall'.  Back in 1979 when Bear Hunt was written I don't think we were using this term but if you need an example of this idea then pick up Bear Hunt and the companion volume Bear goes to Town by Anthony Browne. Of course Harold and the Purple Crayon also did this much earlier back in 1955.  Here is a blog post that explains what we mean by 'breaking the fourth wall.'

One day Bear went for a walk. 
So begins a ordinary day for bear perhaps but you might notice he is carrying a pencil. Bear is a bear and Bear is his name - notice the capital letter.
Two hunters were hunting. They saw Bear.
Now the reader becomes involved.  We hear a voice. An off stage narrator calls out:
Look out! Look out, Bear!
Bear takes his pencil and draws something - a post with a rope. Can you guess what will happen to the hunter? Yes, one hunter down but there were two hunters and the other one is still following our bear. The second hunter has a lasso.
Your turn again. You need to shout out:
Run, Bear, run!
What will Bear draw this time? He has to capture that lasso before it captures him.

And so the story continues. The hunters do not give up, but each time it seems he will certainly be captured, Bear takes his pencil and draws something clever or inventive or simply practical.

When you look at this book read it right through with a young child helping to warn the bear and then go back and look at the jungle plants. Anthony Browne loves to add smile moments - plants wearing ties, a blue finger hiding the leaves, shoes as leaves, ocean fish swimming between the plants, eyes are everywhere, hats and even some tiny socks and undies hanging on a clothes line. On the final page the plants are laughing as Bear flies away having completely foiled those hunters.

Goes to Town continues this style but with a slightly more sophisticated, even sinister story line.
One day Bear went to town.
He is still carrying his trusty pencil and wearing his smart polka dot bow tie.
Bear meets a cat and he kindly draws a great selection of foods when the cat says he is hungry.
Bear enjoys looking in shop windows especially the toy shop which is filled with bears -
I wonder if people eat them?
Then a voice calls:
Look out, Cat!
An animal catcher has picked up Cat. Bear grabs his pencil and draws a pair of roller skates so he can chase after the van which has a sinister skull painted on the side. The van is rushing down "Dead End Street".
Bear arrives at a building and sees Cat locked into a shed so he draws a ladder and a saw and climbs inside where he discovers farm animals - a cow, a sheep, a pig and a rooster. I think it is important to notice the animals are not "cartoonish" - they look like real farm animals. Is this place an abattoir or something worse?
Bear uses his pencil to organise their escape. Te guards come out in force and chase the animals but bear is able to stop them easily when he draws some banana skins.
Our group are not safe, though.
Look out behind you, Bear!

If you like the illustrations in these books with their surreal images another Anthony Browne book I highly recommend you hunt out is The Visitors who came to Stay by Annalena McAfee.

In 1988 a new edition of Bear Hunt was published with a different cover.