By BRUCE DENNILL
Brenda Apsley and Marie Allen: 6 Friends Have Fun In The Wild/6 Friends Have Fun On The Farm
Reading is always interactive. Martin Amis fans or even JK Rowling acolytes may not agree, but the sheer act of peering at a page or screen and feeling paper and ink or (spits) a touch screen under your fingers means you’re more than superficially involved.
Children’s books are, of necessity, more interactive than most. Apart from the increased capacity for learning that comes with involving more of the senses – such books sometimes integrate smell and hearing as well as touch and sight – these publications are man-handled and abused during use.
Titles that make the most of such an outcome by being built to last and to encourage manipulation of their outcomes are almost always hits with young readers. So it is with the 6 Friends Have Fun series, written by Brenda Apsley and illustrated by Marie Allen. Each features a protagonist who invites – wait for it – six friends, represented by figures on little rectangular magnetic boards, into a scenario.
The child reading the book can decide which friend does what one each page and thus change the outcome of the story a dozen different times. This means an extended life in a market where readers have attentions spans several times shorter than this sentence.
Bright colours, cheerful storylines and strong, heavy packaging do the rest, making these books effective as reading material and as toys for littlies always on the hunt for something to do.