Tuesday, 15 November 2011

You're Not So Scary Sid, Hello Dudley, Calm Down Boris and Wendy the Wide-Mouthed Frog by Sam Lloyd

As you will probably have worked out, if my kids like a book, I tend to buy the series. They know that Mummy is a soft touch when it comes to books, in a way that she is most definitely not with toys or sweets.

Sometimes I wonder if there is a profound psychological meaning behind this. My Mum died when I was expecting A, and she always used to say that she was not going to buy her grandchildren sweets, only books. I don't know whether I am playing out this role because she can't. Not that my mother-in-law isn't averse herself to a bit of children's-book-related retail therapy. But she is pretty into the sweets side of things too. I think the probable real reason is that I just really like books. And they are relatively cheap given the pleasure they bring.

I will definitely never win prizes for my mothering. It is usually average, and some days very poor. However, I can never be cross when I am reading a book. I like to think it gives them the message that however grumpy Mummy may be, we end the day on a good note - snuggled up with a good book or five.

Anyway, to the point. These books here are impossible to read grumpily. Tonight C requested Calm Down, Boris. This is probably my second favourite of the four Sam Lloyd titles we own.

Our first, purchased when A was around 2, was Hello Dudley. This is still my favourite. All of the books feature a hand puppet which comes through a hole in the centre of the book. Dudley is a purplish frog-like creature, Boris is a big fluffy orange monster, Sid is brown and sort of woolly, and Wendy is a frog, who is made of impossibly glam (for a kid's book) green spangles and has (unsurprisingly) a very wide mouth.

The reader of the book inserts their hand into the character and the story begins. The premise is slightly different for each book. Dudley is a bit cheeky, Sid pretends to be scary, but is not really, Boris is too tickly and kissy, and Wendy is prone to arrogance. All the books have opportunities to pretend to eat your kids' fingers and to render them weak with giggles. All books end with the monster happy, having seen the error of his/her ways. Only Dudley allows you to sing appallingly though, hence it is my fave. They are all very good, although imho Wendy is by far the weakest of the set.

The are not really the best books for bedtime, as they tend to whip small children into a frenzy of laughter and excitement. Which is probably why both kids are still wide awake, precisely an hour after their official bedtime.

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