Thursday, December 12, 2013

John Patrick Norman McHennessy, the boy who was always late by John Burningham (Red Fox Picture Books)


John Patrick Norman McHennessy The Boy Who Was Always Late

Written and Illustrated by
John Burningham

Published by Red Fox Picture Books

Apart from giving me a near heart-attack trying to fit the name of this book into my header template, I do love John Burningham's books. He has a way of delving into the subversive, dark and sometimes quite menacing side of children's picture books to serve up tales that are guiltily pleasurable - and for children, stories that are wicked and funny.

John Patrick Norman McHennessy set off along the road to learn...but through no fault of his own, a series of mishaps always made him late for school.

His teacher, not the lovely cuddly and wonderful kind but the kind cut from the same cloth as the teacher in Pink Floyd's "The Wall" is horrid, and does not believe any of JPNM's (what, you thought I was going to type that out every time? Wrong!) excuses for tardiness - and puts poor JP in detention, with lines to complete.

(I actually had an amusing moment where I had to explain to Charlotte what "Doing lines" was - and a harrowing moment thinking about what modern celebrities might have said in explanation instead, eek!)

There is a delicious pay off, as there always is in John Burningham's books but naturally I'm going to let you discover what it is.

This is a fantastic book to read aloud (no, you don't have to read the lines unless you REALLY want to, or unless your children demand it!) and a bit of an obscure classic we were so glad to find in our local library.

Charlotte's best bit: "That'll teach the teacher!" sayeth she at the end

Daddy's Favourite bit: A rumbunctuous read-aloud classic that we just couldn't resist.

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