I am thrilled to introduce this week’s Children’s Book of the Week, Thomas and the Lily Pond by Jane Whiteoak. With enchanting animal characters, charming illustrations and a fast pace this enjoyable little book shows children how friendship ultimately will triumph over bullying tactics. Please read my review below.
About the Book Thomas and the Lily Pond is a book about bullying for children ages 4-6 yrs. old. A group of animals are living very contentedly in a forest until the arrival of a large outspoken frog, named Bruno. He attempts to manipulate the group through flattery and ultimately directs his insults at a docile, hardworking Turtle named Thomas. The group follow the directive of the bullying frog due to peer pressure, ultimately getting involved in a food heist at night! Bruno’s ultimate goal is to take over the lily pond completely for himself; he is almost successful! Chaos erupts when a huge storm arrives and most of them end up fighting for their lives in the water. Thomas does not hesitate to try and save them. About the Author Jane Whiteoak has worked in media and communications for over thirty years. After her son had completed University, she changed careers, went back to school and became a Montessori teacher. She has always had a great respect and love for children and had started writing books for children, in health related areas, for a Company when she first started working, years ago. Thomas and the Lily Pond is Jane’s first e-book. Martin the Christmas Mouse, will be on Amazon KDP within the next few weeks. It is her second e-book. The illustrator for Jane’s books was a former amateur and pro-boxer. Interestingly, Ray Henderson was also a professional graphic artist and did work in advertising. His father was a professional artist from Kent, England. Jane and Ray collaborate on books together; he has a unique style with animated animal characters.
My Review of Thomas and the Lily Pond
Thomas the turtle has a life that verges on perfection. Idyllic home, lots of good things to eat and wonderful friends. Until, that is, the arrival of Bruno; an over-sized, overbearing and overtly Machiavellian frog.
Bruno arrives unannounced at Thomas’ lily pond one day, and with much blandishment and no small amount of intimidation, manages to draft all the other animals onto his team, with each soon vying for his attention. But sadly, he turns on Thomas, whose friends, eager to stay in Bruno’s good books, and slightly overwhelmed by him, side with Bruno against Thomas and drive him away from the pond he loves so much. Bruno’s motivation is two-fold. He not only wants the pond for himself but he also wants the little animals to do his sneaky bidding. Thomas, he declares, is too ‘pokey’ to be bothered with.
I am pleased to say, Bruno does get his comeuppance and there is a happy ending.
Aside of the well-written narrative, another notable thing about Thomas and the Lily Pond are the illustrations by artist Ray Henderson. Original, colourful and bold, they complement the story beautifully – and there are plenty of them. There are some lovely descriptions by the author of the various animals too, making it easy for children to learn about different species.
At a time when we hear so much about bullying, Jane Whiteoak’s delightful book would be a most appropriate addition to any child’s bookshelf. But it is not only about bullying – the story is also about friendship and how doing the right thing usually wins through in the end. It is a great little book to read aloud to small children, and I can just see them all cheering in Thomas’ corner. Nobody likes a bully!
Whilst the book is perfectly suited to the age group it is aimed at, I also feel children up to ten or more will enjoy it too.
I highly recommend this book and hope to be able read more of this author’s work soon.