With Nan is a book which should be read slowly to a very young child. Reading slowly will match the lovely tone of this book as we see a loving relationship between Simon and his Gran and watch the time they spend together in the garden discovering all sorts of hidden creatures. The text contains a simple structure :
"Simon didn't quite understand until Nan showed him a leaf (turn the page) that flew,(turn the page) a rock (turn the page) that hopped (turn the page) and ground (turn the page) that scurried away."
This is a book written for pre-school children and so it fits perfectly into the CBCA Early Childhood section. At first glance the illustrations seem quite child-like but they are full of warmth and expression. I especially like the first page which shows two sets of gum boots - one yellow set which are small and one purple - the little dog is chewing on one purple boot with a look of bliss on his face. In the illustrations we also see Nan is quite adventurous. She looks a little old with her hair in a bun but we see her up in a tree, down on all fours looking in the leaf litter, dancing with sticks and giving little Simon a piggyback home. Nan lives in the country and I think many young city children will relate to the wonders that come from exploring a large property like this.
I was pleased to discover we have seven other books in our library by Tania Cox and that one was also short listed many years ago - Snap! Went Chester.
When we read With Nan in our school library we will explore all the other books by Tania Cox and also take a look at picture books about camouflage such as Who's hiding here by Yoshi, The Hunt by Narelle Oliver, Lots of spots by Lois Ehlert and Elmer by David McKee.
You can read an interview with Tania Cox here and find a set of notes about the animals in With Nan along with some activities and colouring pages.