IJ was a little unsure of the Bush Tales children’s book and CD/DVD pack when it arrived, so much so that they were left untouched for over a week. I suspect they simply seemed too different from the highly animated television programmes and 3D films she is used to watching, and she has never been too keen on animal stories, so perhaps the characters on the cover put her off.
I thought the books looked great and I was interested to find out about stories inspired by Africa storytellers having recently travelled there. Concerned that somehow I needed to write a review of Bush Tales, but with IJ still reluctant to look at the books, I put on the DVD. She was instantly hooked.
Bush Tales is a collection of 12 stories written by Matthew R Jameson and brought to life by a series of beautifully illustrated and very colourful books. They include characters with names like Pula the short giraffe, Bont the Baboon and Hustler the Meerkat. A CD and DVD accompany the books and include leading West End stars plus members of the London Symphony and BBC Symphony Orchestras.
I liked the fact that the stories and a little different from the usual princess stories and Horrid Henry books IJ usually reads. I also liked the variety of the musical pieces on both the CD and DVD with each character adopting its own musical style from classical to big band and from jazz to country.
The DVD takes you through the pages of the book with the words put to song. We had two of the books and IJ was keen to see her books on the screen but refused to skip through the others, choosing instead to sit and watch them all. She even danced to some of the music. After her initial hesitations the series proved to be a hit.
I particularly liked the CD and thought the music, performed by leading West End stars including Paul Medford, George Asprey and Dianne Pilkington, was outstanding. Rather than transporting me back to Africa, it took me to the bright lights of the West End stage. If Bush Tales ever took to the West End, I would certainly buy a ticket.
Bush Tales is available from selected branches of Waterstones nationwide, boutique toy and book stores and online at www.bushtales.com or via retailers including Amazon and iTunes priced from £4.99 a book, £9.99 for CDs and DVDs and £7.99 for an iPad app. A luxury gift set is available including all 12 books, DVD and a CD and costs from £49.99. For every book, CD and DVD sold a donation of 20p is made to the Born Free Foundation, with a donation of £2 for every box set sold.