Another lovely book by Julia Donalson, illustrated by Nick Sharratt, with the bonus of using sign language.

When I was young, I had a friend who was partially deaf, however her condition seemed to worsen as time went on. So, when at secondary school we were handed fingerspelling cards, I learnt with enthusiasm. It was then that my best friend and I realised that rather than writing notes we could sign to each other; thereby escaping any embarrassment if the teachers decided to confiscate your notes and read them aloud to the whole class. Fast forward to after university and I am offered the chance to enrol in the British Sign Language Level 1 course. And I enjoyed every minute….until I failed my third module. At which point I enrolled at another centre, learnt a new regional set of signs and did thankfully pass the exam! So I have always had a passion for sign language, I am the sort of person who watches the interpreter rather than the performance. I am amazed by interpreters in the West End, I went to see The Bodyguard recently, which in itself was an amazing show, but the interpreter definitely should have been on the main stage taking a bow, she did a fabulous job throughout. Actually, it’s fortunate that I love sign language as I am now partially deaf thanks to a bout of flu last year!

Naturally, I have taught both my children sign language. They mainly use it to get what they want e.g. milk, drink, food, clean nappy when pre-speech, then as a fun addition to our music sessions. So this book was perfect for practising our signing together. The storyline means there is a natural emphasis on animal and natural world signs.

The story was a bit long for my 3 year old, but repetitive enough that he could feel comfortable with it. The illustrations were suitably busy that you could find something new with every read, which we always love in this household. And the final pages show you some useful signs. I love this book, the story is simple but effective, you can see how this book would be great for hearing and deaf children alike.

Definitely a book to read if you and your child are learning sign language. There are currently 58 copies available for loan in the Surrey County Council’s Library network. The hardback copies are popular, so if that is important to you, you may want to reserve your copy online.

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