Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Perfect Guest by Paula Metcalf (Walker Books)

Sometimes we get books sent to us for review that we *think* are going to be one thing but turn out to be something completely different...
"The Perfect Guest" by Paula Metcalf starts out like the sort of book we're getting a bit swamped by at the moment. Books that deal with friendship, and usually have a loose moral tale about how fantastic friends are (well duh!) and how we need them during difficult times (yes, we KNOW!)

But let's get a couple of things straight. "The Perfect Guest" is like a delicious little slice of situation comedy where the 'slow burn' of introductory stuff leads to hilarous consequences later on.

The main character in the story is a rather prissy and fastidious dog named Walter. Walter is houseproud and loves his new teapot more than anything else (uh oh, can you tell what's coming?)

He's so proud that he decides to call up his old friend Pansy the Squirrel to come round for tea and cakes. Pansy will make her legendary Lemon Drizzle cake and they can do some much needed catching up.

Pansy sets the tone for their lovely day together - by turning up too early! Oops! Walter is still patching up his poor old trousers but Pansy, an expert seamstress, offers to help.

The only problem is - as the book unfolds you start to get the impression that Pansy, as over-helpful and obliging as she is - is a bit of a liability. She sews the leg holes of Walter's trousers closed (eep!), offers to make him a new set (er, where did she get such beautiful material? AAAARGH!) and yes, you've guessed it, before long she manages to smash that beautiful perfect teapot during the washing up.

Walter, exasperated but amazingly cool, sends Pansy into the garden to water the carrots...

If you can guess what happens next you'll love the idea of a book where one single seemingly innocent character can wreak such utter mayhem. There is a bit of a moral tucked in here, in the way Walter reacts to each and every accident (far more patiently and more friendly than I would if I had a mad squirrel running amok in the house) but this is a brilliantly entertaining book that lulls you into a false sense of security from the outset before letting rip with some beautifully depicted chaos.

Charlotte's best bit: All the little dialogue asides from Pansy as she completely messes everything up. Eep!

Daddy's favourite bit: Never judge a book by its cover, or by its first few pages. This is fantastic stuff that will make your little ones giggle!

"The Perfect Guest" by Paula Metcalf is out on 2nd February 2017, published by Walker Books (Kindly sent for review)