#BookReview: Ginnie & Pinney Book 1 and Book 2 by Penny Harris and Winnie Zhou

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#BookReviews

Ginnie & Pinney ‘Learn and Grow’: 3, 2, 1, Here I Come. A story about Fairness, Penny Harris (author), Winnie Zhou (illus.), Big Sky Publishing, July 2020.

Blurb:

Playing Hide-and-Seek is Ginnie’s favourite game.

But Ginnie has a problem. She is very bad at hiding and is always found first. So when Ginnie disappears and her friends can’t find her, they are worried.

Where is Ginnie?

Is Ginnie being fair to her friends?

 

Ginnie & Pinney ‘Learn and Grow’: Pinney the Winner. A story about Selflessness, Penny Harris (author), Winnie Zhou (illus.), Big Sky Publishing, July 2020.

Blurb:

It is sports day and Pinney is determined to win a chocolate medal.

But when his close friend Ginnie has a fall, Pinney has to make a decision. Will he stop and help Ginnie or continue on to win the last race?

Is winning that important?

What will Pinney do?

 

Reviews:

The Ginnie & Pinney eight-part set of books for increasing empathy and emotional intelligence in children are exactly what our younger generation need growing up today. The characters, including Ginnie Giraffe, Pinney ‘Potamus and their friends, are the ideal role models for empowering children to develop strong values and life skills to be able to respond in ethical and moral ways when faced with a range of social and emotional situations. The animated characters are visually-pleasing, amiable and diverse; apt for engaging children universally, who would be able to see themselves in them as they navigate a range of play and personal interactions.

Author Penny Harris and illustrator Winnie Zhou have ticked all the boxes when it comes to character development, theoretical underpinnings, creativity, and audience engagement; vital attributes when developing an innovative and award-winning series such as Ginnie & Pinney. Their groundwork, carefully considered, language-based and fun storylines in large visual format hit the mark for presentation to children in the early years, neatly accompanied by lively animated videos, finger puppets and comprehensive teaching notes to encourage adult-child discussions. Developed in Australia and China, the set of books also include a Mandarin Chinese counterpart, with plans to be released worldwide. An incredible resource that definitely deserves its recognition and use in all home and early learning settings around the globe!

In 3, 2, 1, Here I Come, Ginnie wants to play Hide-and-Seek. It’s her favourite game, but some of her friends don’t think she’s good at it. And in the first round, Ginnie is the first to be found. Desperate to try again, Ginnie comes up with a plan so that her friends will never find her… but searching, and waiting to be found, is no longer fun. Through the gentle, explanatory narrative and speech bubbles, readers gain a clear sense of how each character thinks and feels, and are guided through the problem in a positive and easily accessible manner. At each point in the narrative there are opportunities for adults to ask questions and allow children to respond with their own analysis, predictions and reflections. And given the familiarity of the scenario, such as a game of hide-and-seek, this is an experience that most children will be approaching Ginnie’s, and her friends’, situation with prior knowledge. The themes are subtly woven in to the playful storyline; primarily, what makes a fair game, but also not casting assumptions of a person’s ability, giving others a go, and being assertive (but also fair!). All round, perfectly simple, age-appropriate and visually eye-catching to attract, excite and incite deep contemplation in young children from as early as three years of age.

Pinney the Winner also sets the scene in a universally familiar experience of racing on ‘sports day’. Ginnie is not confident, but Pinney is absolutely determined to win a chocolate medal. After many trials and tribulations, it finally looks as if Pinney might just win the pogo stick race… until his long-necked friend has a big tumble and hurts her knees. How will this story end? The clean lines, clear facial expressions and definitive pastel colours on white backgrounds, together with speech and thought bubbles, help children identify the context of the situations, and how to respond appropriately even if the thinking process may not reflect a kind or fair attitude. For example, Pinney tells Ginnie he wanted to help her, but in his mind, he still would’ve wanted to win a race. In the end, though, a positive message with fitting behaviour is left for readers to ponder. Complete with character profiles and links and images to learn about the whole series, Pinney the Winner: A story about selflessness shares its complete regard and consideration of both its audience and the characters within.

The Ginnie & Pinney books by Penny Harris and Winnie Zhou are superbly characterised by diverse, perfectly imperfect personalities and familiar issues to navigate, with the ability of a ubiquitous influence across early childhood settings all over the world. This series is invaluable as a resource for building foundations for sound emotional, social and ethical development. Readers from age three to eight will simply be ‘won over’ with every run, time and time again.

Review by Romi Sharp.

“Ginnie & Pinney is supported by much evidence in its reasoning, particularly this from the Harvard Graduate School of Education which states, in its Making Caring Common project that ‘Empathy is at the heart of what it means to be human. It’s a foundation for acting ethically, for good relationships of many kinds, for loving well, and for professional success. And it’s key to preventing bullying and many other forms of cruelty.’ (https://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/parenting-resources-raising-caring-ethical-children/cultivating-empathy, 2018).”

  

More information about the award-winning Ginnie & Pinney series as selected by the HundrED organisation 2019 can be found here.

Available to purchase at Big Sky Publishing| Booktopia (3, 2, 1, Here I Come) | Booktopia (Pinney the Winner)

$5 from every book set will be donated to WIRES and Animals Australia.

Visit Ginnie & Pinney at the website: https://www.ginnieandpinney.com.au/

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