The Shady Bay Buddies, Archie and his friends and family, introduce children to familiar first experiences. With simple texts and adorable illustrations these two stories are fabulous for preparing children for their first day of school and reassuring them that visiting the doctor is nothing to worry about.
Archie’s family, his mum and big sister Amber, also play important roles in his experiences. Every character is beautifully crocheted and we absolutely love the collage style, photo illustrations and the way that the characters’ positions change so realistically to tell the story. The easy to read text makes use of simple dialogue and young readers are challenged to find Archie’s soft toy, Bunny, who is hiding in every picture. We particularly love the way that listening to stories and enjoying reading are integrated into Archie’s experiences, there’s a school story time and Amber is shown reading alone as well as reading to Archie.
Archie’s First Day At School: It’s Archie’s first day at school. He takes his favourite toy, Bunny, with him but during the course of the day Bunny is involved in several ‘accidents’. Archie thinks that school is fun and looks forward to going again the next day but he decides that Bunny should stay at home.
Archie’s first day at school follows a traditional pattern. He makes a new friend, an owl called Breeze, does some crafts, plays outside and our favourite illustration shows the class listening to a story. Poor Bunny doesn’t fare so well and we love the way that his accidents ultimately inspire Archie to make the decision to leave him at home when he next goes to school.
Archie’s teacher, Miss Whimsie, is a gorgeous white rabbit and his class consists of various animals and birds including Breeze, bears and a chicken.
Accidents happen and we love the way that although it is Archie’s actions that cause a mess it is Bunny who becomes the focus. This is reassuring for the child and also ensures that Archie’s day is still shown in a fun way. Miss Whimsie is a kind, caring teacher and Archie’s new friend, Breeze, is also very considerate, particularly when she offers to share her lunch.
Archie Goes To The Doctor: Archie falls off the swing and hurts his arm. Mummy and Amber take him to the doctor where he meets his friend Breeze who has earache. Dr. Hodge puts Archie’s arm in a sling and a few days later Archie and Breeze play doctors together.
Archie’s accident takes place in a familiar location and although it is not bad enough to cause huge concerns it is enough to warrant a trip to the doctor. His whole experience is positive and includes counting fish in the waiting room’s fish tank before he is examined by Dr. Hodge. Dr. Hodge is very reassuring and once Archie has seen the doctor he feels well enough to comfort Breeze.
The friendship between Breeze and Archie is strengthened in this story as they find themselves in the same situation. It’s wonderful that they consolidate their doctor’s experience through creative play.
Themes of friendship and caring are predominant in The Shady Bay Buddies stories and their simple text and storylines convey important and reassuring messages to young readers. The books can be used to introduce experiences or stimulate discussions with a young child and would make perfect additions to an Early Years classroom or a home bookshelf.
Age Range: 3 +
Created by Emma Brown
Thank you to Jessie Sullivan at RPS & CICO Books for sending the Shady Bay Buddies stories. We’re looking forward to seeing which familiar experiences Archie and his friends will have next!
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