Tag Archives: Eileen Browne

Children’s Hour: Handa’s Surprise (re-visited)


Children’s Hour is a  feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

Handa’s Surprise is a book I originally read to the toddlers back in 2013 , I don’t tend to re-review books unless it’s with a different age group, or if something happened in a re-read which was significant.

Well today we read Handa’s Surprise, and whilst it might not technically be significant the kids were really engaged. One kid was excited to read it because he’s ‘watched it at home’ (I’m guessing the video I mentioned in my books on screen post, which is very good), and he was able to tell me bits of the story (although unfortunately not what was happening on the essential page which was missing from out copy).

The story is simple, and really it’s told in the pictures. In the words we hear Handa’s voice wondering which of the fruits which she is taking to her friend her friend will like best. It would be pretty boring with words alone, but it would allow children to find out about the different fruits. In the pictures however there is another story taking place. As Handa walks to her friend’s village one by one the fruits are taken from her basket by a variety of different animals.

I think it’s this second story which really engages the children because they have to work out what is happening, and that means they can tell the story themselves, and that’s exciting for them.

Buy it:

Paperback (£4.46)

Board Book (£5.99)

Kindle (£3.79)

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Filed under Children's, Fiction review

Children’s Hour: Handa’s Surprise


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.
Handa’s Surprise is a simple story in which Handa takes a surprise present of fruits to her friend Akeyo. As Handa walks along the road different animals take the fruit from her basket, but eventually they are replaced, and Handa ends up with a surprise too!

What really makes this story is the pictures. It means that the children can more or less tell the story themselves. The words show the story as Handa sees it but from the pictures we can see that things are not going as Handa expects. It makes it a pretty good story for speaking and understanding as the children caan explain what it happening.

The pictures themselves are very bright and sort of African in colour and style.

The children are interested to name the animals, although they struggle a little to name beyond your standard zoo animals. In a way that’s a good thing because it means they can learn about other animals.

A lot of the fruits are ones which they wouldn’t normally encounter too, so it’s interesting to show them, and can lead to lots of activities if you’re in the education business.

Buy Handa’s Surprise:

Paperback (£4.49)

-with DVD (£5.99)

Big Book (£12.24)

Kindle (£4.11)

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books