Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Kipper's Beach Ball by Mick Inkpen (Hodder Children's Books)

Kipper's Beach Ball

Written and Illustrated by
Mick Inkpen

Published by Hodder Children's Books

Kipper is a quarter-century old! Not too shabby for an energetic and bouncy pup who gets up to all sorts of adventures with his friends.

This book is a timely reissue of a Kipper story first published in 2008, that made me recall the heady days of my childhood when cereal wasn't examined for salt or sugar content at the local supermarket, it was bought purely on the merits of what the free gift was. Quite often it'd be a TV or Movie tie-in, sometimes a plastic model, sometimes you had to collect tokens to send off into the inky pre-internet void where 28 days postage for an item were the norm.

Kipper is lucky though, he gets a rather odd free gift in his cornflakes one morning. A small wrinkly thing that smells wonderfully plasticky (I love that phrase!)

Kipper hasn't got a clue what it is but goes off to see his friend who is also collecting all the freebies from his cereal. He's got a penguin rubber pencil topper, a clockwork shark and a couple of bouncing frogs but hasn't seen the thing Kipper has found before in his brekkie.

What on earth is it? The pair soon find a valve on the side, and with a couple of good puffs of air, the small wrinkly plasticky thing turns into a giant beachball! YAY!

There's only one place to play with a beach ball - the beach!! Soon the two run off towards the sands but a gust of wind takes the beach ball and swiftly blows it out to sea. By the time it's been bashed, crashed and splashed in the waves the beach ball once again turns from a wonderful bouncing toy to a small wrinkly piece of plastic. Awww.

Try as they might to get another one in their cereal, the pair fail (what on EARTH is Kipper's mum doing letting him waste boxes of cereal like that! Tsk tsk!)

I always expect Charlotte to be a bit sniffy about Kipper books, as they're really meant for children far younger than her but she loved this, I loved it purely from the nostalgia point of view - that the free gifts in cereal were often as fleeting as Kipper's fragile beach ball and you never quite got the one you wanted! Charlotte loved it because she loved the fleeting moments of adventure as Kipper and his poochy pal play with the beach ball - enjoying it for the brief time they have it. "Kipper's Beach Ball" is, I think, our favourite Kipper story to date.

Charlotte's best bit: Kipper doing the NAUGHTIEST THING EVER by opening packets of cereal just to get the free gifts out. Strictly forbidden behaviour at home!

Daddy's Favourite bit: A wonderful little story that brought a tear of nostalgia to my eye, and delighted Charlotte too.

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