This is a gloriously colourful book about the dangers of vanity and the value of friendship. Or it’s about a lion, a crocodile and a bunch of meerkats, whichever you prefer. The illustrations are marvellous – I particularly enjoy the one where the meerkats have braided bright feathers into the lion’s mane. This is not one to read from an over critical point of view, the continuity isn’t that strong (a lion who doesn’t know what a crocodile looks like and forgets that he can roar?) but if you can set that aside, it’s worth it for the colours.
All I said was… is a story about imagination. And how things might not always be the way you think they are. And maybe about the grass not necessarily being greener on the other side of the street.
It might not be a good story to read a 4 year old with an overactive imagination at bedtime. Because like the majority of Morpurgo books, it’s not precisely a cheerful book. Unless you think being a pigeon is a good thing.
The blurb from Amazon says:
Imagination takes wing in this cleverly-crafted story about a boy who becomes a bird! A heart-warming and thrilling read with a powerful message about the power of books and stories. First of Barrington Stoke’s picture book range for all the family with easy-read font.
I confess I’m not really getting the heart warming. At all. You have been warned.
(I am impressed with the easy to read font. There are far too many picture books which use funky fonts for no apparent reason, which must make life very difficult for people with dyslexia. (There are also books using fonts as part of the story, and I don’t have any problem with that.)
I love John Burningham – his simply drawn pictures that are still full of detail, stories that actually have a point to them. This book is no different – a story about an old magic bed that has the power to carry you away at night on adventure after adventure. There’s an extra layer to this story though, in that some of the adults in the story aren’t listening to the child, and as a result, George’s magic bed disappears while he is away on holiday. It’s a familiar scenario for many children I suspect, and a story that could become a great favourite, with something for both the child and the adult reader.
Moral – pay attention to what the child wants, rather than what you think they need!
This is a counting book with a darker twist. The witch goes around her ever increasing numbers of friends collecting ingredients – for what? The book is suited to those with a more gruesome taste in their reading, featuring werewolves, vampires, blood and bones, which contrasts nicely with the cheerful rhyme scheme. The numbers (up to ten) are counted through twice which is also good for a bit of reinforcement, and there’s an excellent surprise with a fourth wall break right at the end. I also like how prim and proper the witch appears in comparison with many of her friends.
I love the style of illustration of Anthony Browne’s books, far more like non picture book pictures than some picture books, if that makes any sense. But I found the story in this one quite disturbing. I’m sure it’s supposed to be satirical or thought provoking but mainly it seemed unpleasant and rather sad, as it tells the story of a less than happy family on a less than happy day trip out to the zoo.
Possibly better targeted at an older audience than 4, as the messages are quite complex, although the pictures are gorgeous with plenty to interest children of all ages.
Hm. need to work on the rating score as I’ve just ended up giving this book a much higher score than ones I really love.