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May 17, 2024

What's the Hurry, Helma? by Verena Zannantoni ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Are you looking for a new bedtime story for your youngest reader?  I don't read a lot of picture books these days as my niece and nephew are now in college, but during the A to Z Challenge I visited a couple of bloggers featuring children's picture books and they piqued my interest. 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

book cover of children's picture book What's the Hurry Helma? by Verena Zannantoni
November 2023; Indie; 979-8989160402 
ebook, print (34 pages); picture book

Helma is a rescue helicopter and it's her first day on the job. Bernie, the Bernese mountain dog, is overseeing Helma's training. But Helma is eager to get started and her excitement has her rushing, which leads to mistakes.

When visiting the children's lit bloggers, I was amazed at the diversity of cultures and places featured in these books for such young readers. When I was asked to review this picture, which is set in northern Italy, I had to check it out.

It will be a fun book to read out loud with your little one - even if you are bad at character voices (I did horrible voices when reading to my niece and nephew). It is written in rhyme which is always fun to read in children's books. But also there are words that you can emphasize like snap in the sentence "In one quick snap he grabs the croissant with his beak." I snapped my teeth together when I read it. The words aren't just boring print on the page. "Twenty feet down" tumbles down the page as the character almost tumbles over the balcony.

The artwork, by Henk Van der Gugten, is great. They are full-page, full-color cartoon illustrations. They are sure to delight and draw inquisitive young readers into the story.

While it will be fun to read as a bedtime story, there are plenty of other activities that can be centered around the book. How about a geography lesson about where Italy is and some of the sites mentioned like the Dolomite Mountains? I know kids are a lot smarter these days, but I'm sure a few are going to be asking "what is a marmot?" when they meet Mimi. You could discuss food and what people in different countries eat for breakfast. Perhaps even enjoy a croissant and catuccino (warm milk) with Bella the cat. And of course, you can talk about the target lesson of the book: patience.

If you are looking for a book to share with your little one that can lead to exploring more of the world around you, then this is the book to pick up.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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