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Woolly Jumper the story of wool has become a firm favourite in our household especially with my eldest son who is now five. He first received this book for his third birthday and at first I didn't think much too it but I soon realised what a little gem it really is. Somehow they have cleverly made an informative book that is fun and easy to read to a very young age group keeping it in the style of a story book rather than a full on factual book.
Woolly jumper tells the story of how wool comes about and how the process of wool moves onto the process of some jumpers. A simple concept to an adult but for a young child can sometimes be a bit of a mystery. It of course begins with the sheep. The first sentence they use in this book follows the story throughout 'This is the sheep that stood in the field and ate the grass'. This sentence follows on at the end of each page which describes the next process. This repetitive structure helped my son understand that it all retracts back to that sheep.
The story moves on from the sheep to the farmer and his dog to the shearer and onto the classer who I even didn't know that was the name for them. It then moves onto the transportation of the wool to the mills as it gets closer to the shop where we can buy it and make it into jumpers.
The story itself is spread over twenty six pages of which there is plenty of space for some great pictures. The actually text is written over the pictures which takes up a whole double spread. The pictures are not what I would call made cute and unreal like they are relevant to the text on that page. For example when the buyer who looks through the wool deciding on the best there is a picture of a woman knelt down with large amounts of wool surrounded by large wrapped up parcels which I assume is wool that is ready to go. With the back end of a flat bed vehicle loaded ready to go too.
The last two pages in this book which isn't included in the previous twenty six are information pages. These are after the actually story which tells you about sheep on an Australian farm were 6000 merino sheep come from. It goes into detail about what happens to the sheep and how the wool is taken from the sheep and processed.
The text is clear and quite large on the page making it easy to read and easy for young readers to pick out words they recognise. The text itself is rhythmical which I love as I find it flows so much nicer. The repetitive nature of it too is great for getting the children involved in the reading process as they begin to pick it up.
As I mentioned I was a little unsure about this book to begin with as I had never read anything like this to my son. He instantly loved it and from the story he asked more questions about the process involved so I did find the two information pages at the back of the book extremely helpful. Having those pages meant I could explain to my son in more detail about how this actually happens in real life. After reading this story a couple of times it wet his appetite for factual stories.
I was converted too, children don't always need a magical book that takes them to a land far far away that would never exist. A lot of children's factual books are aimed at a slightly higher age range for when they are in full time education. They are often full of diagrams and lots of small text which small children lose their attention on.
This book though has kept it simple yet still managed to teach your child something that is real. The mix of the rhythmic text with the bold pictures is prefect and completely enthralled my son. I wouldn't say he was fussy about this particular subject he is into the usually trains and Scooby doo yet somehow it got him interested and never lost his attention and even now two years later he still likes to listen to it and discuss aspects of it. The pictures are a great tool for discuss along the way as although they are not really detailed they still say a lot. My son also likes to tell people his knowledge on this subject all of which he has learnt from this book!
I think it is lovely when a child can get involved in a book and take something factual away from it. Now he is five we are moving onto more detailed non-fiction books but this was ideal for when he was younger and would still be perfect as an information story for a child wanting to find out about the process of wool. As it was a present I am unsure as to how available this book is but Amazon do currently (Apr 2013) have in stock for what I believe to be a great price £4.99.