Tuesday 15 November 2011

Whoops! But it wasn't me!

Charlie and Lola are two of Cbeebies' best loved characters and it's easy to see why children readily identify with this brother and sister duo. 

"Whoops! But it wasn't me" tells the story of Charlie's new rocket model. He's spent days making it, he's used three cereal boxes and 127 sweet wrapper. It's very fragile! But can Lola resist playing with it when Charlie's not looking? 

A sweet little book and made all the better by the appearance of the legendary Soren Lorensen (who is pretty much the REAL star of Charlie and Lola - Lola's imaginary friend that only she can see). 

Sometimes though, you've got to wonder how many hours she's going to spend in therapy in later life... :)

Charlotte's best bit - Little Unhappy Elephant

Daddy's favourite bit - The fact that Soren Lorenson is like the little red devil sitting on Lola's shoulder, urging her to do bad things. 

Rating - 4 out of 5 stars
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The Highway Rat

A new Julia Donaldson / Axel Scheffler book is pretty much a gigantic event in children's publishing. They are consistently good, pretty much an unbeatable team. The Highway Rat is no exception, using Julia Donaldson's trademark rhyming couplets to tell the story of a nasty, mean and very hungry rat. Like a miniature food-obsessed Dick Turpin, this rat has a bit of a sweet tooth but doesn't care what he steals from the hapless animal characters who make their way along the road he travels. 

The rat steals clover from rabbits, nuts from squirrels, even leaves from ants. But it takes a brave and rather smart duck to outwit this yellow-toothed hooligan. 

As ever, it's a seemingly simple tale turned into a cross between a morals lesson and an entertaining story, and though there's a jarring about-face at the end of the book (you'll see what I mean), it's still worthy of our book of the week. 

Charlotte's best bit - Gruffalo Biscuits!

Daddy's favourite bit - Great animal characters from Axel Scheffler

Rating - 5 out of 5 stars, book of the week. 

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Monday 7 November 2011

The Hill and the Rock

We've raved about David McKee on ReadItDaddy before (in fact it's still extremely difficult for Charlotte NOT to bring "Not Now Bernard" home every single week from the library). The genius behind well loved children's characters from my era (Mr Benn, King Rollo) to my daughter's (Elmer, Two Can Toucan) can usually be relied upon for excellent books filled with life lessons and moral tales. 

The Hill and the Rock is no exception. It tells the story of a couple with a very desirable residence, a lovely cottage at the top of the only hill in the region. It's perfect - apart from one thing. A rather large rock that partially obscures the view from the kitchen window. 

After several rather persuasive arguments with his wife (Nagging? Who mentioned nagging?) the man of the house decides to do something about the rock.

Unfortunately for the couple, it's all downhill from there. Quite literally. 

It's fantastical nonsense weaved into a compelling story in David McKee's trademark "70's trip-out" style. I love his character drawings (and I love the fact that Mr Benn-type characters seem to pop up in cameo appearances in most of his books dealing with human characters), love the daft premise of this book and Charlotte might well have a new favourite to displace Not Now Bernard as her favourite McKee book of all time. 

Charlotte's best bit: The house sinking

Daddy's favourite bit: That sneaky appearance by a bowler-hat-wearing pinstripe-suited businessman type. Who probably dresses as a Knight or an Astronaut at weekends

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Book of the Week

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I Want a Friend!

The Little Princess is back in another book from Tony Ross' superb series. It's the Little Princess's first day at school, and now her little brother no longer wants to play with her, our titular hero is feeling a bit glum. 

Snobby kids at school don't want to play with her either, and soon the Little Princess wonders if she'll ever find any friends at all. 

Luckily she's not the only one in the same boat. 

A great book, particularly if your children are off to school for the first time and are more than a little apprehensive. As ever, Tony Ross' skills are in telling a story using a familiar character dealing with unfamiliar situations, setting children instantly at ease by showing that the big bad world isn't quite as big and bad as it first appears. 

Charlotte's best bit: The Princess making lots of new friends without knowing it

Daddy's favourite bit: The subtlety of TLP not actually letting on she's a princess at school. Very clever that. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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