Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Sprog Owner's Manual (or how kids work) by Babette Cole (Jonathan Cape LTD)

I'll be honest here. When I was a kid, I would've loved an auntie like Babette Cole. Someone who can draw really gross pictures and tell really gross stories but in a wholly fascinating way, imparting knowledge in a way that ensures it sticks firmly in your head.

Babette Cole is the author / illustrator of one of ReadItDaddy's favourite books, the utterly sublime "Doctor Dog" and so when we spotted "The Sprog Owners Manual" at our local library we pretty much knew what to expect.

Treading very similar ground to Doctor Dog, the Sprog Owners Manual features lots of ghoulishly gross illustrations detailing exactly how kids work, how to...er...get one (though thankfully this bit is rather neatly glossed over to prevent too many of those awkward questions like "How did I get in mummy's tummy, Daddy?" or the equally embarrasing "How did I get OUT of Mummy's Tummy Daddy?"), and how best to look after one.

Divided neatly up between "Good Sprogs" who smell faintly of soap, are kind to animals and snack on lettuce leaves and healthy food and "Bad Sprogs" who smell extremely strongly of gone-off milk, scare the heck out of animals, and snack on burgers, worms, bogies or indeed anything that will fit in their mouths, the book's illustrations are definitely where your children are going to get the most entertainment.

Everything's in there from worm-filled tummies, anatomical drawings of poo emerging from...er...where poo emerges from, and of course a heady dose of Babette Cole's hilarious (and sometimes quite ghoulish) sense of humour.

If you took our previous recommendation on board to read Doctor Dog, you're going to love this too but be prepared to dive into your DK "How the Human Body Works" books just to make sure your own sprog doesn't get the wrong idea about what's inside their skin!

Charlotte's best bit: Constantly pointing to the good sprog and saying "That one's me!" (most of the time she's right but there's a tendency towards some of the bad sprog stuff from time to time!)

Daddy's favourite bit: Who knew that swapping sprog brains around could cause problems!

Rating - 4.5 out of 5 Stars.