Saturday, 18 February 2017

Day 39 (Week 6, Day 4)

Day 39 (Week 6, Day 4) - Wednesday 8th February 2017

It's nice to have been able to read to the children for two days running, after such a stop-start time with illness/pantomime/tiredness etc.! 

No great introduction from me here, just on with the reviews!

1) The Crocodile Under the Bed - Judith Kerr (Author & Illustrator)

Should I really read the boys a book about a crocodile under their bed? Eek, too late! Luckily, The Crocodile Under the Bed isn't at all scary, but a fun adventure about where imagination can take you, full of friendly animals that ensure Matty can still have a fun evening when he's deemed too ill to attend a party that most of his family are going to. It's full of every bit of charm you would expect coming from Judith Kerr, as well as her signature style of illlustration, drawn lovingly in pencil from the looks of things - what better form of colouring than pencil, and a joy to see such a rare thing in print!

Chris says: It's another great example of how you can go all around the world on an adventure just before bed. It's also a relief when you pick a book like this (and don't read it beforehand) to discover that it's going to inspire your kids rather than frighten them!

Josh says: I liked that the crocodile was friendly.

Xander says: Haha crocodile!

2) Oh, The Places You'll Go! - Dr Seuss (Author & Illustrator)

I realised as we got round to this that I've never actually read it, despite it being such a famous Dr Seuss title. I've read plenty but this one had obviously slipped me by - it's certainly as eccentric as anything else he's written! What struck me most was the way it flipped several times from having a positive outlook on the future to a negative one, which isn't what you'd normally expect in a picture book. It's got some incredible imagination behind the places that the main character travels to, and it's very honest in the way it prepares the young reader for life not always looking positive, so if you're looking for a book that can lead to a discussion on keeping your chin up then you'll find this very handy!

Chris says: It's really not hard to see why Dr Seuss is so revered as a children's author - his quirkiness and creativity is almost unparalled, certainly from works that I've read from the 50s until the 90s (he died in 1991, and published this in 1990). It might be a less than positive outlook at times, but then it's great to see an author not afraid to show that things aren't always great, but that there's hope just around the corner. I do like books that allow me to discuss real life afterwards with the children!

Josh says: I liked how he visited lots of different places.

Xander says: (N.B. Xander had wandered off by this point, though he was still in earshot so hopefully he enjoyed the words!)

3) I Can Only Draw Worms - Will Mabbitt (Author & Illustrator)

Thank you LoveReading for providing us with a copy of this book to review.

I HAVE to open this review with a note about the back cover. It's by far the greatest back cover ever written, with the most wonderful fake review left by the author himself that I can't stop laughing about (and won't spoil here), but it's up there with the funniest things that Jon Klassen, Oliver Jeffers, and Mo Willems have put down on paper. Inside, the story is basically a counting book where ten almost identical-looking worms are introduced in a phenomenally funny manner, from the worm who thinks he's in charge of the other worms, to the lack of a flying unicorn who has to be replaced by another worm. Honestly, if any of the three authors listed above release any books this year (and I really hope they do), it's going to be difficult to be I Can Only Draw Worms, and if you know how much I like said authors then you know that really is high praise indeed. I cannot recommend highly enough that you go and get hold of a copy of this as soon as possible.

Chris says: It's just simply utterly hilarious in every respect. I can't emphasise just how spectacularly good the back cover is without literally wafting it in your face and forcing you to join me in laughing, so I just suggest you all go out and buy it to save me having to come at you a-wafting. Josh and Xander laughed all the way through, and there's not many better feelings than laughing at a book together with your kids, knowing that you've all just discovered something very special indeed.

Josh says: The worm pretended to be a flying unicorn!

Xander says: I love worms!

So, to summarise Day 39...

All the books tonight were written by the illustrator, which I always think must be an advantage in many ways as you literally get to illustrate the words you write in the exact manner you picture them! If I ever do make it as a picture book author (I certainly won't ever make it as an illustrator because I'm useless) I'll be hugely excited to see how an illustrator interprets my work, but I do feel that writing and illustrating your own stories must be slightly easier!

Tonight, we've had three books of brilliant imagination, with two taking us to far off lands, and one showing us that you can draw nothing but a few worms and come out with one of the funniest picture books ever written. Seriously, that back cover is beyond hilarious.

Wonderful evening of reading!

Books Read: 88/1000 (8.8%)

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