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Simply Small Series - Saffy Looks for Rain
by Paola Opal
AGES: 0 to 3
PAGES: 0
SIZE: 4.25 x 7.75
RIGHTS: World
PRICES: $7.75 US, Cdn $8.95
HARDCOVER: 978-1-897476-03-1

 

"The other day I stumbled across a bright board book with an adorable giraffe on the cover. It caught my eye with it's solid simple colors and inviting story. It's a little small to share with a group but I decided to give it a try in my Book Baby program at the library. The results were unexpected! During the typical Book Baby day, a few of the babies will look at the book, some will look all over the place and others will be wandering around the room while mom's try to gather them up. Not this day!! Saffy was a hit. Every baby in the room was transfixed by the story - possible attracted by the bold lines and solid colors. It was a great day and I plan to try others by Paola Opal in the near future!!" - Litlebook's Spot
"Bare beauty is what you find in the Simply Small Series book, Saffy Looks for Rain by Paola Opal (ISBN: 9781897476031, Simply Read Books, 2009). The illustrations are modern in aesthetic with bold lines and a limited colour palette and simply gorgeous to look at. Saffy is the cutest giraffe, ever, and she (I am assuming Saffy is a she although it’s not clear and the name is rather androgynous come to think of it….hmmm….well I’ll go with “she” but I guess it doesn’t really matter does it?) is hot. Saffy goes looking for rain and ends up finding a friend. The story is sweet and almost haiku-like.

The images are perfect for newborns, with enough colour contrasting to capture their attention yet my 13-month-old and 36-year-old husband were equally enraptured with them. Opal has a few books in this series:Saffy, Totty (a super adorable turtle), Ollie (the elephant we meet in Saffy Looks for Rain), Perry (a polar bear) and Dotty. 

I can imagine the Simply Small series books used as decorating props in an upscale magazine showcasing hip modern nursery designs (Oeuf crib, Pixel Organics bedding, Monte Design glider…..okay not the focus of this blog, moving on!) For those looking to be original, the set of these board books tied together with pretty ribbon would make a darling baby shower gift! Luckily they aren’t just pretty but fun, from birth for until preschool, a must have for the modern parent. - Word of Mouse Book Reviews

 

 

- Best books for Kids & Teens 2010 Chosen Title, CCBC 


Review, Canadian Children's Book News, 2010

"A newly hatched sea turtle, a baby giraffe anxious for independence and a little elephant who wants more than anything to help his mother ... These are the endearing characters in Simply Read Books' board book series, Simply Small, by Paola Opal.

The repetitive text and simple storyline in these board books are perfect for babies. Each of the characters struggles with issues that young children can relate to. Saffy experiences the frustration that every child feels when he or she wants to do more than they can. Children like being mommy or daddy's helper and we see this characteristic in Ollie. In families where there is more than one child, siblings are always trying to keep up with each other, just as Totty tries to catch up with his siblings."

 

 

"Saffy, an adorable baby giraffe, proves less is more in this sweet and simple board book, perfectly sized for little hands." - Recommended Reads, City Scene Magazine

 

Books that Heal Kids
"Saffy, deciding that she cannot wait for the rain to come, determines to go and find a rain cloud herself. Saffy's search for rain is told through a series of questions and answers. After searching for a rain cloud in a number of locations, Saffy meets a little elephant named Ollie. While Ollie does not have a rain cloud, Ollie shows Saffy how he can make rain with his trunk. Saffy gleefully tells her mother, "Look, Mommy! I found something even better than rain - a new friend."
Saffy Looks for Rain is a story to which many children can relate. Most preschoolers can identify with an impatient Saffy and to not wanting to wait for something to happen. The message about the value of making new friends adds a didactic element to the story. Like Opal's other board books, Saffy and Totty, Opal's illustrations are colourful and outlined in bold black lines. Saffy Looks for Rain is strong sequel to Saffy and is an asset to a library or home library for infants to preschool-age children.
Why It's On My Bookshelf: I cherish board books that talk about friendship. We spend a lot of money on board books that teach kids about shapes, concepts, numbers, and farm animals. But make sure your bookshelf has board books for toddlers that talk about feelings and friendship."

 

Resource Links

Both Saffy Looks for Rain and Totty are structured on the developmental behavior of a toddler, which makes them appealing and interesting to even the youngest of readers. Opal uses repetitive language as well as familiar, expected patterns that help young children feel comfortable with the content and excited about the unfamiliar and unexpected. 

Saffy Looks for Rain has a "question-answer mode," a language pattern very familiar to young children. This technique serves well to keep a toddler's attention span from wandering and assigns them the responsibility for the "answer." The story directly involves the child, which also enhances the confidence of the child to become an independent reader. Opal's question-answer approach also adds to the drama of turning the page. 

Both Saffy Looks for Rain and Totty are simple, delightful stories focusing on situations most young children face; Saffy's search for rain which results in the unexpected surprise of a new friend, and Totty's worry about being left behind. The boardbook publication makes it easy for small hands to hold and turn the pages, allowing the youngest of readers to gain experience in listening to stories and making predictions about what will happen next.

Opal's simple cartoon-like illustrations are appealing and appropriately dominate the page. The text is secondary which lets small children focus on what is more interesting to them during the reading. I think Opal's boardbook series will certainly become favourites in the toddler/ preschool world. 

Thematic links: Giraffes; Turtles; Friendship

 

CM Magazine 

After searching for a rain cloud in a number of locations, Saffy meets a little elephant named Ollie. While Ollie does not have a rain cloud, Ollie shows Saffy how he can make rain with his trunk. Saffy gleefully tells her mother, "Look, Mommy! I found something even better than rain - a new friend."

Saffy Looks for Rain is a story to which many children can relate. Most preschoolers can identify with an impatient Saffy and to not wanting to wait for something to happen. The message about the value of making new friends adds a didactic element to the story. Like Opal's other board books, Saffy and Totty, Opal's illustrations are colourful and outlined in bold black lines.

Saffy Looks for Rain is strong sequel to Saffy and is an asset to a library or home library for infants to preschool-age children.

 

"Saffy is a gorgeous baby giraffe - but she is hot - and can't wait for the rain to come. She looks for a rain cloud everywhere - in a tree, in the grass and down the hill. She finds lots of other things - including a new friend who helps Saffy forget how hot she was.

Paola Opal's illustrations are done with sharp contrasting colours - ideal for even the youngest babies - and there is great potential for making this an expressive read-aloud - with plenty of sound effects: tweet tweet! flitter flutter! clippity clop!

This board book is perfect for little hands, and it is an unusual tall format, which looks lovely on a bookshelf." - We Heart Books

Praise for Saffy, the first book in the Simply Small series:

“The simple artwork, with its bold, black outlines, is highly appropriate for the intended target audience. A worthy addition to home libraries and collections serving preschoolers” – CM Magazine

“An ambitious giraffe calf wants to do everything grown-ups do" - Canadian Family