Mellow Mummy: Children's Book Review - Matlida's Cat and Farmer Clegg's Night Out : Taking life as it comes...

Thursday 30 August 2012

Children's Book Review - Matlida's Cat and Farmer Clegg's Night Out

Over the coming months I am hoping to make the children's book reviews a more common feature on Mellow Mummy.  Lara loves books so much and is very slowly starting to learn some of the words herself.  At bedtimes Lara insists on at least 5 stories (sometimes she asks for 21) and her room is slowly resembling a library (we have many, many library books on loan at any one time).  Today I think I will get the ball rolling with two reviews of books that we were sent to review this summer.  They are both suitable for reading to preschoolers or for older children to read for themselves.

Matilda's Cat

I'm going to be a bit brutal with this review so prepare yourself!  Matilda's Cat is a short book about the relationship between an enthusiastic child and her slightly bewildered cat.  While Matilda loves doing all manner of activity with her cat, the cat on the other hand is not so enthusiastic.  Matilda comes up with lots of different activities that the cat might enjoy.

While I loved the illustrations and could totally associate with the story, I thought it was a difficult book to read and one which I don't think many children could read themselves easily.  The book is written as if it is hand-scrawled in pencil; this makes the lettering harder to read than normal.  The most difficult part though is the fact that for each activity Matilda tries with her cat, she then rules it out... literally.  I have NO IDEA how you are supposed to read out a crossed out phrase to a preschooler.  I tried many different approaches when  was trying to read it as a bed-time story and in the end instead of "Matlida's cat likes playing with boxes" I would have to say "Matilda's cat does not like playing with boxes", which rather defeats the point of the words in the first place.

It's a shame because, as an adult reading the story to myself it made me smile a lot and I think it would work well for older children who are competent readers.  In the end Matlida does find something the cat likes and it is a warm and snuggly end to the story, perfect for bedtimes.

Matilda's Cat is written and illustrated by Emily Gravett and published by Macmillan Children's Books. It is available in both hardback and paperback.

Farmer Clegg's Night Out

Farmer Clegg's Night Out is a really fun book suitable for children from toddlers upwards.  Farmer Clegg is a sleepwalker and finds himself competing in a late-night farmyard talent contest.  My husband and I both enjoyed reading this book because it rhymes and scans well and has a few silly giggles.

Once the talent show gets started, each page features a new act and our 3 year old now knows them all and likes to mimic the rhyme.  Her favourite is Dubbin' Dobbin the break-dancing horse!  We love the illustrations too because the more you look at each page, the more little details you see.  Each page is packed full of animals having fun in bright and busy illustrations.

Farmer Clegg's Night Out is now one of our most requested bedtime stories and the other day over dinner Lara even got down from the dinner table to do a little dance - when I asked her what on earth was going on, she said... "don't you like my tarantella?" - this book has a lot to answer for!  After a little while the rhyming verse gets a bit monotonous and hard work (I think the book could be a few pages shorter and not lose any of it's pull) but all in all we think it is a fabulous book that we expect to last us several years - we think Lara will enjoy reading it herself once she is old enough.

Farmer Clegg's Night Out is written by Peter Bently and illustrated by Jim Field.  It is published by Macmillan Children's Books and is available in both hardback and paperback.

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