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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Squash, Ogre, Catch A Star

November 22 2014

We have the 20th anniversary edition of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's A Squash and a Squeeze. There is an introduction by Julia Donaldson explaining that the story was originally a song recorded for a children's BBC programme in the 1970s. A children's books editor many years later asked Donaldson if she could publish the song in a book, she agreed. Scheffler's illustrations add a lot to the humour of the story. It's a very simple premise, an elderly lady seeks the advice of a rather sadistic old man who insists she fills her tiny house with livestock. Linus does enjoy saying "a squash and a squeeeeze". I must confess to enjoying performing the voice of the little old lady who falls somewhere between Thora Hird and Hylda Baker.

The Yoga Ogre is another rhyming story. An overweight ogre tries various regimes to lose weight, one of which is yoga. There's lots of sound effects and plenty of onomatopoeia in this funny tale. Peter Bently's story is an enjoyable read and Simon Rickerty's illustrations are lots of fun.

We don't go many days without a Julia Donaldson or an Oliver Jeffers book, tonight we had both.  How to Catch a Star was the first book published by Oliver Jeffers, although it appears to be a sequel to The Way Back Home which in turn is a sequel to Lost & Found. In fact, it's probably easier to not think too hard about the timeline of the boy in the stories. There is a nice flow between Jeffers' work and lots of talking points if you have a few of the books. We like How To Catch A Star, it has great imagination and humour. I love the ending, it could have been so easy to go with the expected but he doesn't and that makes this an extra special book.

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