What the Jackdaw Saw by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt

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What the Jackdaw Saw by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Anne Thompson
Reviewed by Anne Thompson
Summary: An innovative picture book created with the help of hearing-impaired children, this cheerful story has the added benefit of introducing the concept of sign language to young readers.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: May 2015
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781447280842

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The jackdaw is flying over the countryside, the sea, towns and forests inviting all the creatures he meets to his party. He is excited and so busy trying to tell everyone about his party that he does not understand that the other animals are all trying to warn him that he is flying into danger. Will he work out what they are telling him before it is too late?

As jackdaw continues on his journey ignoring the warnings that he has not understood he flies into a huge, dark thunderstorm. The jackdaw is a bit miffed and complains that no one warned him of the impending disaster. The animals patiently explain that they had warned him but had used sign language to say danger to him. Suitably chastened the jackdaw visit the wise owl who teaches him the sign for party and the confusion ends with everyone enjoying a happy time at the party together.

This picture book by former Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson, was two years in the making and originated at a workshop she took part in help a group of deaf children to produce a picture book. The original idea for the storyline came from the children themselves and the author worked with them, her publishers and the popular illustrator Nick Sharratt to create a commercially viable picture book that would inform and entertain with the added bonus of raising funds for the Life and Deaf Association. This is such a lovely idea and has resulted in a book that is both enjoyable and inclusive.

The story itself is told in rhyming text that flows easily and is a pleasure to read aloud. The use of repetition should hold a very young child’s attention well too. Nick Sharratt’s bright and clear illustrations add to the jolly feel of the book and the pages are busy without being cluttered, with lots to look at. The simple story line and the overall look of the book make this most suitable for the pre-school child but the concept and the additional pages at the end of the book teaching children the signs for different words make this useful for slightly older children too. It may also prompt parent and child to find out more about sign language and the charity benefiting from the book’s sales. The publishers have thoughtfully provided an online video demonstrating how to do the signs provided in the book and this should encourage hearing children to give it a try. All in all this is a cheerful picture book and a worthwhile one too.

Thank you to Macmillan Children’s publishers for providing this copy for review.

For another enjoyable picture book that includes the topic of deafness, but this time involving an elderly relative, you may like to try Elmer and Aunt Zelda by David McKee

Buy What the Jackdaw Saw by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy What the Jackdaw Saw by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy What the Jackdaw Saw by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy What the Jackdaw Saw by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt at Amazon.com.


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