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Monday, 24 November 2014

Giants, Snortles and Digits

November 24 2014

I've probably mentioned before my tendency to go to British comedians' voices when reading stories. My dogs always end up being Tommy Cooper (as is The Tiger Who Came To Tea), Stick Man is Tony Hancock, all the characters I don't like are Paddy McGuinness, there are more, I'll probably bore you with that another time. Ever since I first picked up The Smartest Giant in Town I thought of Bernard Bresslaw. He was a British comedy actor, most famous now for the Carry On films, usually as an ever suffering sidekick to Sid James. Here is the 6'7" giant that was Bernard Bresslaw.

Anyway, back to the book. It's fairly unique in the Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler world as it is not rhyming throughout. Only the Giant's song rhymes. It's pretty much a given that we like this book, the Davidson/Scheffler combo never lets us down. I think this contains some of the funniest of Scheffler's illustrations. There are lots of little jokes squirrelled (pun intended) away within the pictures. There's also a nice life lesson in being kind. There are a few one and two star reviews on Amazon, a few saying the book is boring, that can only be down to the reader. Linus loves it, but then I am an incredibly entertaining reader and available at cheap rates, especially to Linus!

The Great Snortle Hunt is an odd sort of picture book. It's possibly for a year or two older than Linus. It has charming illustrations by Kate Hindley and rhyming story by Claire Freedman. It's essentially a picture book thriller with a happy ending. I hope saying there's a happy ending doesn't spoil it for you, although if you were expecting a brutal ending you probably want to call social services. I like to give a little suspense to my reading. It's nice to have a different tone every so often. It's another attempt to reassure kids that monsters are nice and friendly. Sesame Street has been telling kids that for years, although the last thing any kid would want is Cookie Monster hiding in their larder. Worse would be having the attention seeking Elmo under their bed, there'd be less chance of them getting to sleep than having a real, nasty monster there!

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is another book that's been around since birth. It gives me a sense of how much Linus has grown, remembering reading this when he was a teeny tiny baby and I'd count all his fingers and toes. Now he counts them himself and reads along. The author is Mem Fox and is illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, who also illustrated We're Going On A Bear Hunt. There are various pictures of babies around the world, it's cute and fun. I'd put this in any new baby basket and we still get a lot out of it now.

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