Friday, 29 November 2013

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 29th November 2013: "Have you seen who's just moved in next door to us?" by Colin McNaughton (Walker Books)

Have you seen who's just moved in next door to us?

Written and Illustrated by
Colin McNaughton

Published by Walker Books

We love Colin McNaughton's books but somehow this 1991 classic (now, hooray, reprinted this year with a fab new cover) evaded us until now. How glad are we that we've finally 'met' "Have You Seen Who's Just Moved In Next Door To us?" (bit of a mouthful of a title, no?).

As you'd expect from Colin, it's a superbly detailed rather cheeky and irreverent little children's book that layers on the laughs as we progress through a story of chinese whispers. A house is up for sale and someone's moved in - but who?

All the characters in a really bizarre street are lining up to catch a glimpse of the new neighbours. King Kong cadges a glance, Tarzan and Jane swing through the treetops for a peep, even Mrs Nasty at the hat shop has a squint through her glasses at the newcomers.

The rhyming text is perfect, but the real hoot comes from all the tiny bits of dialogue Colin works into each frame as all the characters chatter and gossip about the new neighbours (there's an absolutely delicious reference to one of our all time Janet and Allan Ahlberg books early on that should give you a nice giggly glow).

We always try to ensure that our book of the week choices are books that are demanded again and again (often consecutive readings are demanded, which is fine by me as there's so many tiny little hidden details in this that you won't get first go).

There's a moral too, perhaps Colin predicting the downfall of 'neighbourhood' and the segregation of folk who live in close proximity? Don't struggle too hard to read between the lines though, this book is a riot in all the good ways possible.

Charlotte's best bit: Unfortunately it's the rather cheeky and rude bit where a Doctor Doolittle wannabe is teaching his exotic bird collection how to say extremely rude and naughty things!

Daddy's Favourite bit: "My Hero!" - LOVED that bit.