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The Littlest Yak

Written by Lu Fraser & Illustrated by Kate Hindley

“As sure as the stars in the glittering sky,

You’ll be all grown-up in the blink of an eye.”

A fantastic new picture book is clip-clopping its way to a bookshop near you in the form of Gertie…the littlest yak of all. This rhyming tale of heartwarming Himalayan hijinx is captured in beautifully illustrated snow scenes and breathtaking constellations.

Gertie is a yak feeling stuck in her smallness and she wants to grow UP and have greatness and tallness. Like all young children, Gertie just wants to be bigger and do all the things that grown-ups do. She comes up with a special ‘growing-up plan’ but no matter how many veggies she eats, books she reads or hills she clatters down, she just can’t seem to get the ‘bigness’ she dreams of.

But then…a yak even teenier and weenier that Gertie gets into dire straits on a craggy cliff edge and it’s up to our Gertie to gallop to the rescue. She realise that her smallness can do big things after all and saves the tiny trembling yak, making the herd extremely proud of her.

Yaks are an unusual choice for a character and reading Gertie was like a breath of fresh (mountain) air! She presents an excellent learning opportunity to discover more about real-life yaks: where they live, what they eat, how they keep warm – not all yaks are as fortunate as Gertie and her friends to have such a fabulous range of knitwear! The stunning starry night scenes are a wonderful talking point and could be used as a stimulus for some beautiful artwork.

‘The Littlest Yak’ has a lovely message for young children – that no matter how small you are, there is ‘bigness’ inside you. It would work well as part of a ‘Marvellous Me’ theme in the Early Years Foundation Stage and/or complement the Key Stage 1 Programme of Study for PSHCE when exploring the theme of ‘ourselves’ and what makes each of us special. After reading, children could be encouraged to think about what Gertie was good at and their own personal skills and strengths.

Our children really do seem to grow-up in the blink of an eye but we need to help them discover what makes them great like Gertie in the here and now and enjoy childhood to the full.

“Maybe one day you’ll be huge, you’ll be tall,

Don’t rush to grow-up when it’s great being small

With thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Children’s Uk for providing me with a digital copy of the book to review in advance of publication.

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