Thursday, April 14, 2016

"Alphonse, That Is Not OK To Do!" by Daisy Hirst (Walker Books)

Older siblings get a really tough deal. I should know, I have a younger brother and sister and I distinctly remember what it was like growing up in a house where my lovingly constructed domino rally run was destroyed in seconds by little bro, or my little sis would bring her friends round to giggle and embarrass me.

Daisy Hirst's cute and brilliantly well observed "Alphonse, That is NOT OK to do!" is an ode to older siblings who find their most prized possessions or their most brilliant pieces of artwork irreparably defaced by their brothers or sisters.

It's not that Alphonse is bad per se, he just doesn't understand that books are not for chewing, cardboard models are not for scribbling on and sometimes you just want a bit of peace not to be used as a human trampoline.

Natalie escapes to a warm sud-filled bath but after depicting Alphonse being ravaged by tornadoes, beasts and pea storms (ugh, the latter sound awful!), she worries that perhaps something horrible might happen to Alphonse while she's locked in the bathroom.

But the story has a happy ending, as both Alphonse and Natalie understand what it's like to be a brother or a sister, and sometimes how it's the best thing in the world to have someone else to knock around with.

There was a note of sadness while we were reading this. Charlotte is an only child, and is very likely never to know what it would be like to be Natalie. She has younger cousins and often plays with younger friends but it's not quite the same. Now and again while we sat down together with the book I could see that faraway look in her eye, a look that silently mused over what it would really be like to be a big sis. I could've burst into tears.

Charlotte's favourite bit: Snorting and sniggering at Alphonse's great explanation of how he tried to reach the tape to fix his sister's book but ended up in a total pickle!

Daddy's favourite bit: The illustrations in this are fabulous and bold (and we shout a huge hooray for books that are moving away from the cute and cuddly and going for a more graphic and bold (but brilliant) look. It's also deliciously well observed. I reckon Daisy could possibly tell us a tale or two about her own younger sibs perhaps?

(Kindly sent to us for review by Walker Books)

"Alphonse that is Not OK to do!"

Written and Illustrated by Daisy Hirst

Published by Walker Books

Publication Date: 3rd March 2016

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