Tuesday 24 April 2012

The Runaway Dinner by Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman (Walker Books)

Our local garden centre might sound like an unlikely destination when you're after new children's books but they do a cracking selection of very reasonable titles there, and not just the obscure rubbishy stuff, good quality books like the Walker Books collection. So spotting these on 2 for 1, we picked up a couple of books we'd been meaning to add to Charlotte's collection for a while.

The other book we grabbed was "We're going on a Bear Hunt" and there's not really much more to write about that (in fact I'm quite surprised to see we haven't actually reviewed that yet, despite eulogising about it enough!) but it was The Runaway Dinner that caught Charlotte's eye.

Young Banjo Cannon's adventures in "The Pencil" had already delighted her and with most children's books you get those tantalising lists of other books available in the same range. We'd previously checked "The Runaway Dinner" out from the library and reviewed it but it was definitely worth taking another look at (after all, when we originally reviewed it, Charlotte was still in nappies!)

Now she's a little older, she can appreciate the crazy antics of the book, the frenetic pace which just doesn't slow down for a second, and of course all the little details and busy little characters that go into Bruce Ingman's child-like but wholly fitting illustrations.

So when Banjo's usual dinner sausage sprouts legs and runs off, it's the beginning of a chase that lasts all day. Followed by his fork, his knife, his plate, his table and his chair, Banjo joins the chase along with his family, his pets and the entire neighbourhood.

Originally we gave this a 3 out of 5 but I'm willing to bump that up to a 4 on re-review, simply because Charlotte seems to get a lot more out of the book a couple of years on and has pointed stuff out in it that even I missed.

I've got a feeling we'll have to hunt down the last of the Banjo Cannon books quite soon!

Charlotte's best bit: The unfortunate fate of the peas

Daddy's favourite bit: The sheer lunacy of it all, and Bruce Ingman's wry illustrative style

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars