Friday 8 April 2016

ReadItDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 8th April 2016 - "Albert's Tree" by Jenni Desmond (Walker Books)

Sometimes it's virtually impossible not to fall completely in love with a book after just one single reading. Our second Book of the Week this week made us feel just like Albert...
"Albert's Tree" is the story of a bear. You've probably read approximately 50 billion books about bears, and you're wondering just how it could be possible to write one that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you sigh a long loud "Awww!" with practically every turn of the page.

So let's talk about Albert. Albert is the sort of book character who doesn't need much of an introduction, he's actually not the most interesting individual on the planet but in the space of his story, his single-minded and adorable character wins you over (that's if you're not already completely in love with his happy little adorable face as depicted on the front cover of the book of course).

Albert loves one thing more than honey, more than his lovely comfy bed, more than hibernating through the winter all safe and snug from the snows. Albert loves his tree. He wakes up every morning and his first thought is of his tree. He gambols through the forest, through the grass and past well trodden paths eventually arriving at his object d'amour.

But today something's different. Albert's tree is crying.

"Trees don't cry!" point out passers-by, but Albert's tree sobs piteously. Albert enlists the help of his forest friends to try and cheer up the tree. Will digging holes work? How about some nice juicy grass?

But Albert has another idea. How about a lovely hug?

The tree does stop crying but it soon becomes clear that there's more to the wailing wood than meets the eye so what is actually going on and what can Albert do about it?

We love Jenni Desmond's books. We've previously enthused about "Red Cat, Blue Cat" (which is utterly chaotic and hilarious), "Backstage Cat" and "The First Slodge" and Jenni's even popped by for a ReadItDaddy Interview but I think this is her best book by far.

It's Albert. There's something completely amazing about how emotive a brown bear with tiny dot eyes can be throughout the course of this story, and when the end of the story arrives (which we're really biting our tongues not to spoil for you as the book was only released yesterday and we really want you to experience it afresh and love it as much as we do) you'll feel like cheering out loud.

Albert, you join the honour roll of the greatest storybook bears of all time. What an utterly superb book of the week.

Charlotte's best bit: A rather spirited reading out loud with lots of daft voices and silly sound effects (have you ever tried to do an impression of a tree crying? Well I have now!)

Daddy's favourite bit: With a few deft strokes, Jenni manages to make Albert so utterly and completely adorable. Each expression, though seemingly simple, radiates the emotions and sometimes the excitement in each scene. This is an absolute gem of a picture book!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Walker Books)

"Albert's Tree"

Written and Illustrated by Jenni Desmond

Published by Walker Books

Publication Date: 7th April 2016