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Sunday, 30 November 2014

An owl, two rodents and some missing pages

November 30 2014

One of the perils of reading picture books from the library is the inevitable torn page and why libraries bother buying in pop-up books is beyond me. The odd torn page is no big thing compared to a chunk of missing pages. This is what we found with Chris Haughton's A Bit Lost. It's a story of an owl who falls out of his nest and looks for his mummy. I don't think Linus noticed the missing middle but I was a little perplexed. It was a little like reading a whodunnit without a murder being committed. Anyway, it looks fun, if a little familiar. I'll try and get another copy and see if there is a murder, I doubt it, owls aren't like that.

I've heard some people say they don't like Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's  The Highway Rat for various reasons. There is a one star review on Amazon from December 2012 that seems to have taken this to extremes. I toyed with reposting here but if you need a laugh just check it out for yourself, I'm still not sure if it's an attempt at satire. The Highway Rat is based on Alfred Noyes' early 20th century poem The Highwayman. Linus likes to finish many of the lines and spot creatures that aren't in the story "ooh a snake", "owl and another owl", "a Gruffalo cookie!". It is a fictional tale of a rat who goes out on the rob but in the end gets his comeuppance. It's a little off centre for Donaldson so I can see why some wouldn't enjoy it, personally I take it as a fun little story with a nice rhythm and plenty of humour. If you want to spot a hidden message of gender denigration then you may be best looking for books in the mental health section.

If you like stories of guinea pigs riding recycled bicycles then Charlotte Middleton's Christopher's Bicycle is one for you. It is a very charming book with very pleasing illustrations.  There's more for Linus to see within the pictures on further readings. For our first read I think there could have been more to the story. It's possibly aimed at early readers and would give a few good ideas for complementary craft projects. It makes a great attempt at being different and not just for the sake of it. We were impressed, I'll try it again in a few days and see if we really like it.

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