Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Claude in the Spotlight by Alex T Smith (Hachette Children's Books)

I can't quite believe we've never encountered Claude before, Alex T Smith's brilliant doggie creation who - along with the mysteriously enigmatic Sir Bobblysock - gets into all sorts of exciting scrapes and adventures.

So what does the aerodynamically-shaped pooch get up to this time?

Claude slips out into the big wide world when his owners, Mr and Mrs Shinyshoes leave for work one morning. Along with his best friend and sidekick Sir Bobblysock (a rather dashing and well presented sock, if a little bobbly and woolly), Claude once again aims to experience life in the hustle and bustle of the urban metropolis.

There is much for a young dog to take in. Cafe culture and high tea, but soon Claude is drawn to the sounds of music and a ballet class as young children practice for a big show later that day.

Never one to shy away from adventure and excitement (despite Sir Bobblysock's silent protests and pithy stares), Claude tucks into a small emergency lunch (stashed in his capacious Tardis-like Beret, of course) and is soon in the thick of a cake stealing plot as thick as a layer of royal icing!

Can Claude save the day and be home in time for a well earned rest?

Alex T Smith's a master of making children giggle like drains, and adults also love the sheer joy of reading Claude books out loud to their kids (well I certainly did!) The book had all the right ingredients for Charlotte. Crazy characters, ballet shenanigans and of course suave socks who look rather dapper in a half-windsor tie. What's not to love!

Can't wait to read more Claude, what a happy discovery!

Charlotte's best bit: After watching too many episodes of Scooby Doo it didn't take her very long to figure out who the culprit was in the story! They might've gotten away with it if it hadn't been for that perishing dog (and his sock!)

Daddy's favourite bit: In my mind's eye Alex has secretly drawn an intricate cutaway drawing of Claude's beret, detailing all the little compartments and containers where he keeps all the emergency stuff he needs for his adventures. So cool!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Hodder / Hachette Children's Books)