Little by Little by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow

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Little by Little by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow

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Buy Little by Little by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Scramble the otter can do everything but swim but with the help of his family he learns little by little. A beautiful, heart-warming book which is sure to become a favourite.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: April 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0192727367

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Scramble the otter was making a Can-do and Can't-do list. There were all sorts of exciting things on the can-do list. He could do forward roly-poly and backward roly-poly. Being kind to frogs had been mastered along with mud sliding, making sandcastles and slippery-rock hopping. The Can't-do list was very short. There was only one thing on it.

Scramble the otter couldn't swim.

Bear and Beaver were not particularly nice about this, but as Scramble's Mummy said being kind to otters is not on bear and beaver's Can-do list. Scramble had found a way of looking as though he was swimming. He'd hop very quickly along the river bed whilst 'swimming' with his arms. Other days he would run along the bank to keep up with his friends, but mostly he just wished that he could swim.

Every day his mummy would say, Today's the day you're going to crack it.
And every day – it wasn't.

But it was Scramble's sister who came up with the idea of 'starting small'. Little by Little is the story of how Scramble learned to swim. I'm not going to tell you how he did it but eventually Scramble jumped off the Highest-Ever Rock into the Deepest-Ever Pool and he knew that he could swim.

Sometimes you pick up a book and you just know that you're going to love it – and this is one of those books. The illustrations by Layn Marlow are a delight with muted colours capturing the spring countryside and the animals to perfection. They're all very gentle and unthreatening because the secret of this story is that all Scramble lacks is confidence. What he does have is a supportive family who are prepared to reassure, help and encourage him. And right at the end they're there to applaud his success. For any child it's a reassuring message that achievement comes from taking small steps.

The text is a delight to read aloud. It's simple and direct but it expresses exactly how Scramble feels:

But most days Scramble would simply sit on his favourite slippery rock, wishing and wishing – from his whiskers all the way down to his toes – that he could swim.

I knew exactly how he felt and any child would understand that too. The book is highly recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

For another reassuring book you might like to look at So Few Of Me by Peter H Reynolds.

Buy Little by Little by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Little by Little by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Little by Little by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Little by Little by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at Amazon.com.

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