Monday, 16 December 2013

What Does the Fox Say? By Ylvis and Svein Nyhus (Simon and Schuster Children's Books)

What does the Fox Say?

Written by Ylvis

Illustrated by Svein Nyhus

Published by Simon and Schuster Children's Books

I think we must live in an anti-meme bubble, because somehow "YouTube Internet Smash Sensation What Does The Fox Say?" completely passed us by. So we actually knew about the book before we knew about THAT TUNE and THAT VIDEO.

I wanted to be all grumpy and cynical about this, but dutifully I read the book and did a sort of "GUH?" thing, then watched the video and did another.

But Charlotte? Well Charlotte thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and I guess that's the whole point in licensing a book from a strange song / video by the Swedish equivalent of Ant and Dec. Ylvis are talk-show entertainment types, and their song has gone viral in ways that only things like this can. Up and down the land, people probably have that "RING-DING-DING-DING" bit as their ringtone, guffawing loudly as they play it on buses much to the 'amusement' of the other passengers. More people probably play the video to their little ones on iPads while the little mite is sitting in his/her high chair.

But is that such a bad thing? Anything that makes people (especially Charlotte) happy has got to be a good thing right? Durn tootin'!

The book is...slightly weird. The artwork is surreal and dream-like, and of course the story basically comprises the song lyrics written down - yes, even the "HAT-E-HAT-E-HATHATHAT-E" bits, making it completely unreadable as a bedtime story, but mildly entertaining trying to read it pitch-perfectly.

Worst of all, once you've heard the song and seen the video, it will etch itself onto your inner earworm like a cattle-brand. At risk of upsetting our readers, here it is, because we shouldn't really suffer alone should we!

As I said at the top of the review, we missed all the fuss first time round but if you truly believe Ylvis are the next Sy, and that books borne of internet memes are worthy of attention, this could be the first of many. Me? I'm so out of touch I'm still waiting for the LOLCATS chronicles. Don't pay any attention to my grumpiness about it, your kids will absolutely love this to pieces, and if they don't, show them the video and I guarantee you that they'll be wandering round the house singing the chorus forever more. Charlotte's best bit: She's been walking around the house singing and shouting bits. (We are thinking of ingenious ways to fire the book into the sun!) Daddy's Favourite bit: To paraphrase tonto jitterman, this is the literary equivalent of a joss stick. It stinks, and then it's mercifully over. (Kindly sent to us for review by Simon and Schuster Children's Books)