Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 05 Sep 2023

Today is for You by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Kevin Waldron

As a retired Early Years teacher, I know how much young children enjoy joining in with stories. This one encourages shouting out, jumping up and smiling on the first turn of the page with a big bold font  - so be warned to make enough space!

There is an urgent message of Carpe Diem that runs through this beautiful picture book which is about being positive, affirmative, upbeat and actively involved with all opportunities. There are so many possibilities offered with paths to follow and questions to answer: ‘What will you think? What will you say? Who will you love? Who will you meet?’ Other pages suggest some interesting possibilities for role play and exploring the natural world.

The exuberant mood continues with a colourful double page spread that shows a wide variety of faces in windows shouting and waving. But of course, apart from children who like being loud, there are plenty that prefer quieter things. I liked the way that the illustrator uses differently coloured backgrounds throughout, which imply a range of moods that would hopefully help individual children to tune in with what they like best.

My favourite pages showed some children bravely exploring a dark autumnal wood and others under a big tree reading books:

‘Sit down in a meadow

Beside a small stream.

Read from a book.

Dream a big dream.’ 

After quite a lot more shouty pages with even bigger fonts, the readers are encouraged to leave school at the end of the eventful day and go home to tell their families about everything. This round the table chatter is thankfully tempered with a calmer interlude that shows two children sitting together on a swing as the sun goes down over a lake. The book winds down at last with a depiction of the children travelling happily on a train to Dreamland, then a child’s bedroom using a more muted colour palette and finally an outside view of the sleeping child with his teddy. 

I look forward to trying out this energetic picture book with a group of young children and taking time to enjoy the simple repetitive text as well as looking more closely at the detail in the plentiful illustrations. 

Available from Walker Books, it can be obtained from your local independent bookshop - who will be glad to order it for you if they don’t have copies on the shelf.      

Karen Argent

September 2023