A German Gathering

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A German Gathering -Picture Books 23-25 in the Read to me Picture Book Challenge


Book # 23 Die Kuh Rosalinde by Winfried llustrated by Frauke Nahrgang for the There’s a Book reading-challenge

A very bossy I-know-best cow, called Rosalinde, inhabits this farmyard. Pig, dog and hen all come in for a tirade from Rosalinde, who even manages to persuade the goldfish that it was a day too cold to swim. The distraught farmer reflected on the general malaise amongst his animals, realises the culprit is Rosalinde and has no qualms in putting his cow on the first plane to Africa!  For a while peace returned to the farmyard. The renewed peace is soon shattered again by a series of night-time visits from various distressed African animals. From a lion to an elephant the animals arrived until the poor farmer couldn’t take anymore. He himself escorts the wild animals, by plane, back to the Savannah where it wasn’t hard to find Rosalinde.  Back home Rosalinde returned immediately to her old critical ways, starting with pig. Pig, however, was too excited to be put out and begged Rosalinde to describe he stay in Africa. Thus as Rosalinde recounts her African tales to the barnyard creatures, she mellows and makes true friends amongst her old enemies. This is a 1990 book and typically the text is much longer than it would be nowadays, thus I think it would be appropriate for children aged 6-8, who have a longer attention span. The story, however, is not dated, and it remains a humorous animal tale.

Book # 24 Sophie macht Musik by Geoffroy de Pennart

Another cow story! But Sophie is a cultured cow, who loves music, especially singing. A simple country cow, Sophie longs to sing with a large orchestra and heads to the big city hoping to be engaged as a singer for the national orchestra competition. Sophie tries audition after audition, but is met by some pretty snooty rejections from all sorts of animal ensembles. Discouraged, Sophie stops for a drink at the Train café, where, as fate would have it, she meets a musical dog waiter and together they decide to form their own orchestra. They hold their own auditions, assemble a truly motley bunch of musical maestros and, of course, are the winners of the competition. Pennart has some really funny illustrations of the various bands, from oboe playing Giraffes to a choir of Friesians.  This is a wonderful story of prejudice, individuality and perseverance. I enjoyed the text and illustrations very much. For children aged 4-7.

Book # 25 Hoppel by Marcus Pfister

This is the first in a series of five books about a young Snow Bunny called Hoppel. With beautiful blue-toned watercolours Pfister depicts this endearing tale of a young snow rabbit desperate for winter to end, and spring to arrive with an abundance of food and consequently so much more time to play. As they search for food, Hoppel’s mother teaches him to flee the Falcon, recognize the reindeer and search for berries.  The images are gentle and the relationship between mother bunny and Hoppel, very tender, yet the book, does explore the challenges of winter foraging for these snow rabbits. I think particularly the soft illustrations will appeal to a younger audience, of maybe 3-5 year olds.


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4 Responses to A German Gathering

  1. Diane says:

    Hi Joanna,

    The first two books made me chuckle, they sound really fun to read. In Die Kuh Rosalinde, I can just see the animals being marched onto the plane, and Rosalinde finally comes back.
    Yay for Sophie in the second book, so pleased they won.
    The book Hoppel sounds very familiar, I am sure I have read it somewhere. It is really lovely, the story reminds me very much of Bambi. I am also reading and reviewing a couple of animal books soon. I used to as a small kid in primary school used to love drawing lions, they were my favourite animal…lol Lovely reviews thankyou.

    • Joanna says:

      I really enjoyed Sophie and her initiative and success. I suspect Hoppel has been translated into other languages so you may have seen it in English, Diane.

  2. You make me wish I could read more German! I’d really like to read Sophie macht Musik! My German-reading abilities, however, are limited to the lyrics of lieder, from my voice-lesson days of the past.

    The books do sound delightful.

    • Joanna says:

      I did think of you when I read “Sophie macht Musik”, Beth. You would love to see all these pretentious ensembles refusing Sophie’s talent just because she is a country cow!

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