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KS1 Book Club: Finding Floss, The Colour-Changing Cockapoo by Cara Matheson (Owlet Press)

Illustrated by Mirna Imamović


For ages 4+


Firstly, look at this cover artwork!! Soooooo joyful!! Makes me think immediately of fluffy marshmallows and sparkly magic - and you must take a long pause at the beautiful dog-themed end papers, so delightful. This is not the first time that Mirna Imamović has created the artwork for Owlet Press picture books - remember the bestselling picture book 'Where Björn Belongs' last Christmas? Those heartwarming illustrations were Imamović's illustrative creation too. 'Finding Floss' is Cara Matheson's debut children's book and what a treat for her to have been paired with such a talent. For a debut, Cara has written an highly engaging fun rhyming text story that has to be one of my most successful KS1 Book Club picks to date!! Bravo!!

Finding Floss: The Colour-Changing Cockapoo by Cara Matheson (Owlet Press)

Once settled with the children, after asking how they all were and talking about the books they're enjoying at the moment, hearing them read a few of their favourite pages, then checking over someone's cut on their thumb and making sure tissues were available for the most snottiest... I started to pull the book out of my bag ready to read... a signal for everyone to settle onto their cushions on the floor. Settle? Nope. It was..."ooo what's that", "why does it have rainbows?", "the doggy is soooo cute"... Even the most bookishly-disengaged child swiftly moved from the back of the room and sat right in front of me, expectantly. What a result! Happy days!


About the book

Not only is 'Finding Floss' pure eye-candy for any bookshelf whether in a bookshop or classroom, at a library or at home, it also plays an important role in teaching children about what to do if they get lost. Let me tell you more.


With Owlet Press's trademark style, the illustrations are plentiful, beautiful, colourful, filled with inclusive characters and so much attention to detail. Matheson's rhyming story is engaging from the off, and whether it's included in a dog breed or not, the word 'poo' is mentioned 6 times in the first paragraph. Lots of giggles, and lots of love for cockapoos too, in the room. The author, herself is from a blended family, and this has been represented in the book with the little girl's father being called by his first name and appears to be of SouthEast Asian full/mixed heritage along with another of the little girls in the family. There's a gorgeous happy illustration part way through the story of the whole family together including grandparents and Floss under a rainbow.


Now, by the beginning of the third page, the children found out that cockapoo, Floss, leaps into a rainbow at a picnic one day and gains the amazing magic power of changing colour and being able to camouflage herself against anything she wants to... the tartan picnic rug, a flower bed, the ice cream toppings... and so the story became a fun game too!! I'm relieved to say the book club didn't descend into complete chaos, but it did get a bit 'scrappy' as to who was going to find Floss first when the next page was turned. In the end I had to hold the book way up high and time it so everyone could look at the same time. Phew! What a work out. See what I mean about the joy-factor of this book?


It is at the funfair one day that the family take the precaution of telling the little girl about what to do if she gets lost - "ask a grown-up, but one that you can trust, like stallholders or parents or police - and that's a must", and they also put a wristband on her wrist with her mummy's phone number on it just in case. This was a brilliant moment to stop reading and talk to the children about sensible options of what to do when lost, and perhaps other people who might help if you weren't at a fair, but maybe at an airport.


Due to Floss's mischievous behaviour (that might have something to do with the ice cream parlour and freaking out the local cats with her colour-changing antics) she is not allowed into the fair and has to wait outside. At first the children hadn't really grasped this as they were so enthusiastic about finding Floss hidden on the bouncy castle etc that I needed explain that the little girl doesn't actually realist that Floss is there with her.


The little girl queues for some candy floss, and then realises that she has lost sight of her family, and in the moment feels very scared trying to remember the advice her mum and Jin (her step-father I have presumed) gave her. I took this opportunity to ask the children whether any of them had ever been lost themselves, and most had not although one or two had a lost-in-a-supermarket aisle moment when they were younger. Thanks to Floss, the little girl is magically propelled on her scooter across the fair to the 'Lost Children Point' and from there her mum is phoned thanks to the number on her wristband. I told the children that I've used these before with my children and many of them had never heard of this before, so perhaps they'll pass the tip onto their parents or carers. Clever Floss is rewarded with a humungous pile of sausages and everyone is over-the-rainbow to be together, safe and sound. At the end of the book there is a very helpful advice page entitled 'What to do if you get lost.'


What a fabulous book club we had today!!


Here are the first few pages of the story...


Words © Cara Matheson + Illustrations © Mirna Imamović
Words © Cara Matheson + Illustrations © Mirna Imamović

Words © Cara Matheson + Illustrations © Mirna Imamović
Words © Cara Matheson + Illustrations © Mirna Imamović

Words © Cara Matheson + Illustrations © Mirna Imamović
Words © Cara Matheson + Illustrations © Mirna Imamović

Creative fun

We had such a great time with 'Finding Floss' and after the story the children made a great start on their 'Finding Floss' official colouring sheets from the Owlet Press website. I've popped the link below for you. They're completely FREE to download.


https://www.owletpress.com/resources


About the creators


Cara Matheson (author)

Cara is a children’s writer, former magazine journalist and Proud Dog Person. When not taking endless photos of her curly cockapoo, Scout, she can be found reading and writing books, and getting crumbs all over her favourite blanket as she munches a cinnamon bun or seven. Cara loves writing funny picture books - often in rhyme and always with a sprinkle of silliness. She lives in Greenwich, London, with her brilliant daughters, husband (similarly brilliant, she should probably add), and the aforementioned Scout, with whom she volunteers in schools as part of the Read2Dogs scheme.


Website: https://www.instagram.com/cara_matheson_writer


Mirna Imamović (illustrator)

A very talented illustrator from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Website: https://www.instagram.com/art.mirna





Key themes


blended families

families

pets

child getting lost

stranger danger

magic

camouflage

celebrating differences


Grab a copy


Buy here on the Owlet Press website...

https://www.owletpress.com/product-page/finding-floss-the-colour-changing-cockapoo


Publication date: 2 February 2023

Format: Paperback


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