Friday, March 8, 2019

ReadItDaddy's Super-Special Children's Book Award Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 8th March 2019: "The Last Chip" by Duncan Beedie (Templar Publishing)

This week's super-special Children's Book Award Picture Book of the Week is a fantastic book we've covered before (January 2018 to be precise) when it won a coveted "Picture Book of the Week" award. 

Kids obviously also have excellent taste when it comes to fantastic picture books, as now we're happy to join the Federation of Children's Book Groups 2019 Children's Book Awards to talk about Duncan Beedie's fantastic shortlisted book "The Last Chip" and to once again let it completely break our resolve not to be big crybabies.

When we're on the lookout for fabulous picture books, we often look for those 'hooks' that pull you straight into a story. Sometimes the hook can be the storyline itself, sometimes it can be something unexpected in the early stages of the book. Sometimes it's a particular theme or issue that hte author / illustrator has set out to explore, and they nail it right from the get go. 

Duncan has that gift for creating those hooks - putting together the most beautiful stories and illustrations to impart simple but heartfelt messages of hope, and right now let's face it, that's exactly the sort of 'book balm' we need. 

So without further ado, let's meet Percy, the modest star of "The Last Chip". 

Now, we're definitely not what you could describe as "Pigeon lovers" by any stretch of the imagination (their cooing early in the mornings at this time of year drives us absolutely batty at home) but you just can't help but fall for Percy as soon as you meet him.

He's such a tiny little fellah, and every morning he dutifully turns up at the train station ready to peck up any crumbs that commuters might drop on their way to work.

The big problem (or should we say BIG FEATHERY PROBLEMS) come in the form of a gang of unruly bullying pigeons who always greedily bundle in every time there's any food around. They squeeze poor Percy out (one in particular made us cackle, a rather ornery looking pigeon with those horrible missing / stumpy feet you sometimes see pigeons in London hobbling around on - EEKS!)

Glorious, gorgeous book this. 
Soon the tiny little pidge realises he needs to look further afield for his grub. He tries the park, but the ducks are nasty and don't like anyone muscling in on their pond / birdseed racket.

He flies as far as the coast. Poor Percy doesn't even find any grub there as nasty piratical seagulls are having none of this landlubber trying to peck up their fish-and-chip suppers!

We lolled at the stall names here. Another utterly beautiful spread. 
So what will Percy do? Weak, starving and absolutely exhausted he sadly heads back to the city - and finds an unexpected friend and thankfully finally gets to share supper with someone who gives him their last chip, even though they're down on their luck themselves.

Oh it was that bit - it just had us blubbing like babies. Such a gorgeous warm message and if you're not bawling by the end of this book, you have no heart. We both still think this is Duncan's best work yet (certainly the illustrations are luxuriously gorgeous, I mean just LOOK at them!) - But C pointed out that we're STILL not allowed to like this more than "The Bear Who Stared", another of Duncan's books that has worked its way into our everyday lives, being referenced every single time we see one of those rude little girls or boys who can't stop staring. 

Worth noting that part of the proceeds from this book have been donated to The Trussell Trust - a very worthy cause that fits beautifully with the book's core message and story. 

What a lovely gesture and just one more reason why you need this book in your life.

C's best bit: The evil stump-footed pigeon who stalks the railway station. Eeesh!

Daddy's favourite bit: A beautiful message, utterly amazing and gorgeous illustrations, the tender warm heart of a truly lovely story and yes, we did blub. Wonderful work, Duncan!

"The Last Chip" by Duncan Beedie is out now, published by Templar (kindly supplied for review). 

Don't forget to check out the other 'stops' on the Children's Book Award Top Ten Tour!