Sharing a Shell – Julia Donaldson

This week we brought home this little gem from the library in our book bag.
The Oh Wailys already own quite a few books by Julia Donaldson.  More than I care to confess to here today, but naturally involve the Gruffalo and it’s child as well as the three books in The Tales from Acorn Wood.

Sharing a Shell is currently the favourite reading material for Master Oh Waily, and Miss Oh Waily will happily tag along too when it is being read.

Compared to other verse work by Ms Donaldson, I find that this one does not have her usual easy reading flow.  Even after multiple readings I am failing to find a good rhythm.  And although I generally rate a book by how easy and flowing the language is, even slightly more so than the illustrations, in this case I can forgive the slightly lumpy reading it provides.

I forgive it the flaws in flow because the illustrations are absolutely adorable and better yet, they have made the book a sensory experience for the children as well.  There are raised areas that highlight things like waves, rain, fish scales, Blob the Anemone’s crown, parts of the Crab, the shared shell and Brush the bristleworm.  So it manages to bring interaction to the reading process and we can talk about, amongst other things, just how fish scales might feel.  The story itself allows an introduction, albeit at pre-schooler level, of how each of the sea creatures contributes to the improved lifestyle for the trio as a whole.

In short it is a charming story about a trio of sea creatures and their symbiotic relationship, made attractive by very nice illustrations and adding the sensory experience on top.   If the language was just a touch better I would be adding it to our family wishlist for birthdays or Christmas.  Still, it is a very good option if picked up from the library especially for children with an interest in nature.


2 thoughts on “Sharing a Shell – Julia Donaldson

  1. Ohhh, this is a favourite in our house, I haven’t had an issue with the rhythm so it’s interesting to hear you have. I love the morals included in the story as much as the story itself

    • It’s odd. I just can’t seem to get a reading rhythm for this. I haven’t worked out why.
      Yes, the tale of friendship, sharing and contributing to the greater good are nice and also fairly subtle. I like the fact that it can also be used as a factual springboard to talk about animals that have symbiotic relationships in nature too.

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