This is a special 10th anniversary edition which features five hilarious songs and stories. The funny, slightly naughty lyrics will appeal to children and adults alike.
Included in this edition are The Wonky Donkey, Willbee the Bumblebee, My Daddy ate an Apple, Square Eyes, and The Scariest Thing in the Garden. The stories are presented in durable hard cover format.
The Wonky Donkey and Willbee the Bumblebee are illustrated by Katz Cowley, while the remaining three stories are illustrated by Scott Tulloch. The accompanying CD is recorded by Craig Smith.
Miss Two had already seen the Wonky Donkey book and song, but she was overjoyed to get not only her very own copy of this classic but another four stories as well in this compendium! She is well and truly into animal stories, and loves the hilarious illustrations that accompany them - she has a keen eye for colour, and the detail included by both Katz Cowley and Scott Tulloch is an absolute delight. When her father first read the Wonky Donkey to her, he kept getting tongue-tied. It was the first time he had encountered this story, and everyone found his efforts quite hilarious. I admit to getting tongue-tied too when I read this story aloud as it moves very fast - especially when you try to sing along to the CD!
The favourite for Miss Two was Willbee the Bumblebee. I think that one is my own favourite too; I love the illustrations of his furry tummy, and the idea of the spider fixing up his jumper is really priceless. It is also a good way for children to learn about insects and arachnids because there is a certain amount of misguided fear around some of these creatures; it is useful if children are aware that most of them are not only harmless, but are actually beneficial to the environment. Miss Two was able to identify the various flora and fauna quite easily, and loved to point them out as she turned each page. Another plus for me was that gender roles were fluid; the spider who fixed the jersey was male while Moni the monarch butterfly who rescued him from catching cold was female.
Miss Two also loved My Daddy Ate An Apple - she was delighted by the way the unwelcome worm was ejected from his bum with a huge explosion; as always, she finds any references to bodily functions extremely funny! She also enjoyed the elephant ambulance, while the grown-ups laughed at the innovative x-ray machine which had been designed for a quadruped! The accompanying song was Miss Two's favourite; it is presented to the tune of the children's song "Did You Ever See A Lassie?", and includes lots of lip-smacking and slurping sound effects which she thought were priceless.
I was intrigued by the variety of musical styles included on the accompanying CD. Not only did they follow the text faithfully, but they offered a further learning opportunity for budding musicians to get a feel for different musical genres. Miss Two is a bit young for that as yet, but two older children (aged seven and ten) who had a preview of the book before Miss Two saw it both recognised the differences even though they were not quite sure how to explain them. The Wonky Donkey song is country all the way; Willbee the Bumblebee is blues, while Square Eyes could have been written by a reggae artist! The only song which we did not particularly like was The Scariest Thing In The Garden - the rhythm did not work easily so Miss Two found it too hard to follow.
Two of the stories, Square Eyes and The Scariest Thing In The Garden, although colourful and beautifully presented, were not quite so accessible for a child who has only just reached the age of two. However, children mature so fast that she will soon be enjoying them too - and my seven- and ten-year old friends had earlier given them both the thumbs up. Their messages are slightly more sophisticated - which means that the book will have appeal for some years to come. Miss Two has a baby brother so it will not be long before he too is interacting with the stories. We were really pleased to see that the book comes in a durable, hard-back edition as this means it will last for a very long time.
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