A Duo of Julia Stebbing Children’s Books

My apologies to Julia Stebbing for keeping her waiting so long for reviews of two of her children’s books whilst life has been quite challenging, and my enormous thanks to Julia for sending me When Moggie and Froggie Met Doggie illustrated by Stephen Stone and Rainbow Cat and the Big Tidy illustrated by Nivya Kuriakose in return for honest reviews.

Julia’s books last appeared on Linda’s Book Bag when I reviewed When Moggie Met Froggie here.

I also reviewed both The Lost Smile and Remarkable Women in Verse here.

Published by Sticky Bun, When Moggie and Froggie Met Doggy is available for purchase here and Rainbow Cat and the Big Tidy is available here.

When Moggie and Froggie Met Doggy

While out seeking mice to eat, Moggie comes across a grumpy Doggie clinging to a tree, and their relationship gets off to a rocky start. Little did either of them know they would soon become good friends. In this amusing tale, with cute illustrations, read how Moggie and Froggie, with new friend Doggie, learn how to have fun together. An adorable sequel to When Moggie Met Froggie.

My Review of When Moggie and Froggie Met Doggie

Doggie is in a spot of bother!

As I’ve come to expect with a Julia Stebbing children’s book, When Moggie and Froggie Met Doggy is a cornucopia of fun, rhyme, humour and friendship. There’s a really lovely story as Moggie discovers Doggie stuck up a tree having been frightened by Froggie and which resolves itself through kindness, friendship and playing together as children learn not to judge others on first appearances. I love the concept that a dog, cat and frog can be friends as it illustrates to young children how diversity doesn’t have to mean alienation.

The language is so well balanced that Julia Stebbing blends familiar words with new vocabulary that enhances children’s language acquisition even as they are enjoying a light-hearted and humorous story. The rhyme not only affords the opportunity for children to predict what is coming next to reinforce language skills, but it is so smooth that it makes reading the story aloud a real pleasure because it flows so effectively.

Alongside themes of friendship, being scared, and learning about others, there are fantastic illustrations by Stephen Stone that bring the story to vibrant life. The expressions on the animals’ faces are not only hilarious, but they help children learn how we use non vocal or verbal communication too.

When Moggie and Froggie Met Doggy is a smashing children’s book that I thoroughly recommend.

Rainbow Cat and the Big Tidy

When a colourful cat goes for a walk with a dog with one shoe and they come across a field strewn with rubbish – ‘The biggest mess that Cat has seen’– what can they do?

HOW will they tidy up the mess? WHO will help them?

This charming story, told in rhyming verse, helps a young child learn the importance of clearing up litter and of teamwork. A serious theme, with fun illustrations. For ages 3-7.

My Review of Rainbow Cat and the Big Tidy

Rainbow Cat finds too much litter.

Whilst Rainbow Cat and the Big Tidy is a book aimed at very young children, I think it is a highly important one for us all and it would fit perfectly into a home, school or other group involving young children because it illustrates the issues of the environment in a gentle and effective manner.

I especially liked the fact that Cat is indeed a rainbow coloured cat as I felt it helped promote all types of characters and countered stereotyped expectations so that children learn to accept others as a result of their actions and not their appearance. There’s a lovely message that working as a team makes life easier and fun too as Julia Stebbing includes a range of animals and birds who collaborate in clearing up litter and restoring nature.

The language used in Rainbow Cat and the Big Tidy is so well constructed, with an effortless rhyme scheme and an easy rhythm so that children can hear patterns of language. Alternate end rhyme and rhyming couplets, ellipsis and parenthesis all provide concrete examples that enhance children’s own independent writing so that Rainbow Cat and the Big Tidy is a brilliant educational tool as well as a fun and entertaining story.

I loved the illustrations by Nivya Kuriakose too. The animals have a style young children will love whilst I found the backgrounds almost ethereal at times, giving a sense of what might be if only we were more careful with our environments and took more care to take our rubbish home.

Filled with friendship, co-operation and playfulness, Rainbow Cat and the Big Tidy is a super children’s book.

About Julia Stebbing

Julia has always lived in north London and was brought up in Stanmore. Opposite her house were only fields and the local school was a mere 5-minute walk. The spinney nearby provided opportunities for jumping a stream, picking blackberries, and hiding in the woods. Switch to three children later, husband David, and seven grandchildren – 3 girls and 4 boys. She used to write song lyrics and now loves writing children’s stories, especially in rhyming verse. S

She has published two books, The Lost Smile, a picture book which is the first in a series of The Fabulous FiveRemarkable Women in Verse tells the story of Rosa Parks, Helen Keller and her governess Anne Sullivan, and also Florence Nightingale.

You can find out more on Sticky Bun’s website and on Facebook. You’ll occasionally find Julia on Twitter @stickybunpub and Instagram too.

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