I spend a large chunk of my time surrounded by 4 and 5 year olds. This is A Very Good Thing and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it does affect the way I behave and the language I use. I definitely overuse the phrase ‘that’s poo’ and can often be found making up words like ‘bogey-poo-snot-stew’ and ‘fandabaliciousness-cherry topped-brillfab’.
Yesterday my wife swore to herself while I was writing and I was genuinely freaked out. I was writing about children but there were no actual children in the room. I was just fully embracing my inner 4 year old! I think I do it very well! So, as you can imagine, I have felt very much at home when reading Poo Bum and A Deal’s a Deal by Stephanie Blake this week.
Once there was a little rabbit who could only say one thing…
A defiant “Poo Bum” is his response to everything life throws at him, even a wolf’s threat to eat him. Children will relish the fact that in the end, it is his cheekiness that saves him from wolf-related peril. Hurrah for a book that celebrates silliness and encourages children to test their boundaries and play with language.
Poo Bum has been a firm favourite here since Grandma spotted it in her local independent bookshop, Bailey Hill Bookshop in Castle Cary. Being the cool grandma that she is, she picked it up straightaway and had a quiet giggle to herself in the shop before uttering that well-known and loved grandma phrase “I think I’d like to buy this for Mollie”. Mollie was dressed as a pirate and playing in the bookshop’s secret den at the time, so missed the build up. Purchases made, cut to a sunny seat on a wall, Mummy K reading the book and Grandma and I crying with laughter as we all shouted “Poo Bum!” at the tops of our voices in the middle of the street. Yes, this is a book that can unite three generations of a family in silliness and pre-school anarchy.
After the Poo Bum shenanigans, we were all looking forward to A Deal’s a Deal and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Simon is back, this time dealing with the trauma of swapsies. Ferdinand’s red car looks very appealing, but when Simon finally negotiates the swap of a lifetime and gets the prized car home… it breaks! Of course it does! A deal’s a deal, to take back is to steal! But Simon is a smart little rabbit and he knows just how to play Ferdinand and get his own triumphant way. With the help of a few ‘enhanced truths’ and a very large bogey, Simon gets his original cars back and can happily skip away into the sunshine.
Some adults might shy away from these books because they might teach their children to be cheeky. I say GOOD! All hail Stephanie Blake for showing children as they really are. Yes, they play tricks on each other. Yes, they can be fairly disgusting. They’re children, it’s their job! It’s how they learn about themselves and each other and how to rub along together in this crazy world of ours. In an era of phonics tests and SATS and the squashing of reading for pleasure, it’s a joy to come across books that really embrace the fun and silliness of childhood, that get down and dirty with the poo bums and the bogeys of the playground. Because reading shouldn’t be all about what adults want children to read, or about education and learning for improvement. It should be fun! Children should be able to scream with laughter and roll around the book corner shouting “Poo Bum!” Because they are children! Their learning will come through play and laughter and FUN and I think that is often forgotten by the people in charge of education (yes I’m looking at you, Gove!)
So, embrace your inner 4 year old, grab a copy of these books and be silly, be rude, have fun! Dance the ‘bogey-poo-snot-stew’ dance and make the children around you laugh until a little bit of wee comes out.
And make sure you do it all really loudly so Gove and his cronies can hear you!
Source: Poo Bum bought from the very delicious Bailey Hill bookshop.
A Deal’s a Deal kindly sent for review by Bounce Marketing on behalf of Gecko Press.