Friday, 24 April 2015

ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 24th April 2015 - "Fuzz McFlops" by Eva Furnari with translation by Alison Entrekin (Pushkin Children's Books)

Fuzz McFlops

Written and Illustrated by
Eva Furnari

Published by Pushkin Children's Books

We're always on the look out for books that break the mould, do something different, dish up a tasty reading experience for your young ones that feels like nothing you've ever seen before.

"Fuzz McFlops" arrived through our door somewhat mysteriously (we've been used to seeing books accompanied by a press release but Fuzz was on its own). With a 'whoop' of delight, Charlotte adopted it as one of her bedtime reads over the next few days and I can gauge the level of success of the book by how many times she dragged me off to show me a new 'bit' she'd discovered.

We've long described a gap between picture books and early chapter readers for children, and thankfully we're beginning to see authors and illustrators playing with that format with resounding success. Eva Furnari is definitely a well established author and illustrator in her home country of Brazil, and now thanks to a timely translation by Alison Entrekin, the rest of the world is about to find out why Eva wins truckloads of awards for her wonderful books.

Back to that format. Fuzz McFlops starts out in fairly traditional style. The tale of a young (and dare we say rather dapper) rabbit who is an amazingly talented author. But poor Fuzz is shy, a shyness brought on by nasty fellow pupils at school who teased him and bullied him about his wonky ears. Aww, bless his cotton tail!

Leading a slightly reclusive life, prone to writing heart-wrenchingly sad tales Fuzz begins to receive a series of letters from an ardent fan begging him to take his rightful place in the spotlight!

Here's where the book departs from the fairly standard layouts you may expect from a picture book - or indeed a slightly wordier early chapter book, because "Fuzz McFlops" is devised and designed in such an original and fresh way, that there's so much to discover on each page. The story is both heartwarming and triumphant, but the more we read around Fuzz's return to glory, the more we fell in love with all the incidental things you discover as you read through and marvel at the gorgeous illustrations.

Pushkin Children's Books seem to have a knack for challenging our expectations of children's books and pressing our buttons in all the right ways. "Fuzz McFlops" is no exception, in fact it was all I could do to wrestle this one out of Charlotte's hands so I could read it myself (and read it I did!)

If you've got a little one at home who won't just settle for the ordinary and everyday tales they find when trying to bridge the gap between picture book and chapter book, then definitely give Fuzz a try! It'll give you a warm fuzzy glow, betcha!

Charlotte's best bit: The brilliant bit where Fuzz receives his first fan letter!

Daddy's Favourite bit: This is a really original and unique children's book that makes us sit up and take notice. The world is about to find out what an amazing talented lady Eva Furnari really is!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Pushkin Children's Books)