What can I say? We both adored this book.
Now that Little Chap can read more fluently for himself, I am never quite sure whether a picture book will excite him in quite the same way as they used to. Don’t get me wrong, all his reading books are still well illustrated but recently, more often than not, they have been non-fiction books filled with photographs of real life examples. To try to encourage him to read for pleasure, we’ve introduced one or two early readers about his current passions – such as LEGO Chima and Star Wars. While he still loves me to read to him at bedtime, less frequent are his requests for our old favourites among his picture books.
Phrases like “Mummy, I’m too big for Alfie stories now” are probably true, but break my heart nonetheless. Now he prefers me to read him adventure stories, chapter books, fairy tales and legends of bravery and daring do. All this is wonderful and good and exactly as it should be and makes me proud and happy but such is the lot of us mothers, I fear I will soon be in mourning for the end of a truly precious era. My Little Chap is at a crossroads, not yet wanting to leave behind the comfort and ritual of our bedtime story routine but needing more than the familiar stories of the characters of his babyhood, and this, it seems, more than any other milestone shows me I’ve got a full-fledged schoolboy on my hands, not the preschooler of yesteryear.
So when we received this delightful picture book, bursting with brightly coloured illustrations by winner of the Red House Children’s Book Award 2013, Lee Wildish, I hoped it would be a hit but was by no means certain it would appeal. Perhaps the novelty of something new was too great an enticement to sit still and listen, but Little Chap seemed keen and when I finished reading this lovely rhyming tale, he was so enthralled he demanded we read it another time. Little Chap really hasn’t done that since he was two or three!
The story follows the adventures of George, a little boy who likes sweets (show me a child that doesn’t!) and is also crazy about space rockets. With a home-made rocket and map of the stars, George turns out to also be a brave and courageous explorer !
Filling the rocket with all his sweets, George takes off to Mars to find some Martians, but is disappointed until he’s almost out of sugary confections (which variously come in handy for one reason or another during his space adventures). You will have to read it for yourself to find out if he meets any and whether he returns home with any sweets!
The book has something of Roald Dahl about it. Given that one of the authors, Adam Guillain, was Writer in Residence at the Roald Dahl Museum, this shouldn’t surprise anyone much and the book would serve as a great introduction to Dahl for young readers. Little Chap has recently indulged me on Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr Fox and The Enormous Crocodile, enjoying both in equal measure.
All in, I would definitely recommend this as a charmingly illustrated tale, with a witty rhyming text and a nice pace to it – you don’t want a bedtime story that drags now do you!?