Clara’s Corner June Edition!

Welcome to our June Edition of Clara’s Corner!

This month Clara will be reviewing three books, ‘Night Flight’, ‘Always Carry You With Me’ & ‘There’s a Tiger on the Train’!

Don’t forget to use the code ‘CLARA’ at checkout to get 10% off all books included in Clara’s Corner.


Always Carry Me With You by Hervé Éparview & Fred Benaglia

Do you ever think about stones and pebbles? No? I can’t say I do much either. However, in this story the author and illustrator succeed in one of those feats of making something
very ordinary, appear absolutely extraordinary. This is a simple and sensitive account of a father’s sheer love and admiration for his little daughter. It opens with the statement “I wish I were a stone.” Not something we would automatically associate with love and family, but we are soon brought on a sweet trail of detail and descriptions of all the wonderful things a stone can be; leading us to the explanation for why this particular dad longs to be a pebble in his daughter’s pocket. Witty, sensitive, reflective; the text is brimming with rich vocabulary. It’s another lovely example of a crossover read that would suit a variety of ages and stages.

An added plus is that Ivy Books are planet friendly books, meaning that they are printed
on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper! You love to see it!

Things to try at school:
● Hervé Éparvier is a French author. What do we know about France already? What
would we like to learn more about? What do we know about this author and
illustrator? Do they have any other books?
● The author lists lots of things that stones can be. Can you think of any more?
● There are lots of great examples of rich vocabulary within this story. Before
reading, you might pre-teach a selection of the more sophisticated terms for the
children. Explore the words that may need to be studied in more detail, e.g. plinth.
What is a plinth? What else could we display on a plinth?
● The dad wishes he could be a pebble in his daughter’s pocket. What does teacher
have in their pockets today? What can we infer or work out about teacher by
exploring the different objects from their pocket?
● Pebble Painting: Invite the children to paint and decorate some lovely flat stones;
add interesting words or motivational messages!

● Pebble art: Endless opportunities! Invite the children to create pebble people. Invite
the children create collaborative scenes in pairs or small groups using lots of
different pebbles.
● ‘If it’s not a pebble, it’s a….’ – Put a pebble on a page for each child. Invite them to
draw the pebble as part of something else. Maybe it’s a face? Maybe it’s a button?
Maybe it’s a football? Let their imagination lead.
● Stone stacks: How many flat stones can you stack on top of each other without
letting the stack topple? Estimate and record!
● Pebble maths: We love concrete materials in maths so think about how we could
incorporate pebbles to support mathematical learning. How many pebbles has
teacher dropped into the pot? Make a number with the pebbles. Create sets of

Things to try at home:
● A lovely text to read or share for Father’s Day.
● Dinnertime discussion: If you could be an object of nature, what would you be?
● Stone hunt: Next time you are in the park or at the beach, hunt for different types
of stones or pebbles. Flat, round, long, heart-shaped – make a list!
● Targets: Draw some target rings in the sand or on the ground with chalk. Can you
throw your pebble into the target? How many points did you get?
● Pebble trail: In the garden, beach or park, create a trail with pebbles or stones.
Where will it lead to?


Night Flight by Katie Cottle

Night Flight tells us the tale of Ellie and her mum who leave their familiar country village and move to a loud, bustling city. In the country, Ellie loved bird watching and hoped to continue to do so in her new home. But birdwatching in the city proves quite difficult and soon Ellie finds herself tasked with the feat of helping make the city a more welcoming place for the birds at nighttime. A fantastic introduction into the topic of light pollution and our necessary collective effort in combating such issues. A wonderfully empowering tale of environmentalism, led by a determined little girl with a penchant for wildlife and teamwork! The illustrations deserve a moment of their own – from intricate double-page spreads, to vignettes and diminishing returns, there is just so much to unpack. For me, this little book is an illustration-lover’s dream. A gorgeous text for 1st class and up.

Things to try at school:
● Light Pollution Campaign: Learn more about light pollution. Educate the school
community. Create campaign posters and information to help reduce light pollution
in your local area.
● Bird Feeders: Create some tasty bird feeders for your classroom windows or school

● Ellie lists lots of different types of birds throughout the story, such as sparrows,
moorhens and blackbirds. Use the internet or a reference book to explore what
these birds look like and learn about their habits and habitats.
● Explore the illustrations: Within many of the illustrations, there are lots of
examples of signs, posters and environmental print. Revisit the pages and explore
what other text and messages are there to be read.
● Bird watch: Revisit the illustrations; how many different types of birds can you find?
Can you name them?
● Bird Tally: Set up a space at a window in the classroom. Take turns recording how
many different birds pass by or land in the school yard. Discuss how we could
attract more birds to the school yard.

Things to try at home:
● Consider the light pollution in your home. Right at this moment, how many lights
(big or small) are switched on? Are there any you don’t really need? Are there any
lights that you never noticed before? (e.g. on the washing machine or television)
● Make a tasty bird feeder with cereal and recycled materials from around the home.
● Dinnertime discussion: Consider how you could make your garden or local park
more bird friendly.


There’s a Tiger on the Train by Mariesa Dulak and Rebcecca Cobb

A Tiger on the Train? Couldn’t be! If only dad would look up from his phone, he’s missing all the fun! This is a wonderfully playful story, bursting with rhyme and onomatopoeia. Lots of fun to read, with the most poignant and hard-hitting ending, especially if you’re the adult doing the reading. A little boy is quite literally calling out for his dad’s attention, until the tiger takes matters into his own hands and dad has no option but to look lively and join in on the fun. An ideal text for a preschool or infant class read-aloud with a subtle nod to Judith Kerr’s classic, The Tiger Who Came to Tea.

Things to try at school:
● This story is action-packed! Read the story again and invite the children to join in
with the actions along the way. Which gestures and facial expressions could we
● Read the Tiger Who Came to Tea and compare the texts. Which text do the children
prefer, and why?
● Explore the illustrations, how many other types of animals can we find? Do we
know their names?
● There are lots of different types of foods hidden within the illustrations. Invite the
children to find and name them.

● What do we know already about tigers? What would we like to find out?

Things to try at home:
● Dinnertime discussion: Who has been on a train? Where did they travel to? Did
anything interesting happen on the journey?
● This story contains lots of rhyming words. Invite the children to play I spy… but
instead of ‘something that begins with…’, use ‘something that rhymes with…’

About Clara:

Clara Fiorentini is a former primary school teacher, now lecturing in initial teacher education at Marino Institute of Education, Dublin where she specialises in literacy education and children’s literature. Clara provides CPD for teachers and early childhood educators in the areas of literacy, children’s literature, playful learning and school transitions. Clara is completing her PhD research on preschool literacy practices at Trinity College Dublin and is the current President of the Literacy Association of Ireland (2024). Clara is a huge advocate for children’s literature and the use of the read-aloud in school and the home.

You can connect with Clara via Instagram, X or via her website.
For contact and enquiries, please email: [email protected]