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by Alison Charles

As the parent of a young child, this was sent for me to review by reading it along with my daughter, but I wasn't really sure what to make of it. It is supposed to be a children's book, but it wasn't obvious what exact age group it was aimed at. The language used (unusual/big words, no repetition) and the style of the book itself (nice little pictures, but no big ones) made me feel it was not aimed at very young children. It's kind of a long time since I was a kid, but I couldn't read this to my toddler at bedtime because she couldn't possibly understand it. I felt that the writing style would have to be aimed at an 8-year-old or above.

However, I also felt that, if the book is aimed at that age group, then it would be rather boring for them, as it has no real overall story. Each chapter is just a little event on its own and nothing really exciting happens. If you were dealing with younger children this would be enough, but if you're trying to interest 8-year-olds (or older) then they'll want an overall story and they'll want something a bit more interesting to be happening. This is the age group that reads Harry Potter, after all.

I was also a bit dubious about some of the rather dated concepts that are frequently mentioned, e.g. donkey rides at the beach and Punch and Judy shows. Even though it's a long time since I was a kid in the UK, I only vaguely remember there being donkeys at beaches and I don't think I ever came across a real Punch and Judy show. I remember not really relating to Punch and Judy shows when they were mentioned in comics I was reading - I'd think "what's fun or interesting about that?" I imagine that for today's kids, who are all into video games and sci-fi, these dated ideas will seem even more difficult to relate to and therefore potentially uninteresting.

You have to hand it to the author for trying, but she needs to think a bit harder about her target audience.

ISBN 0 9532350 0 9 Published by Alison Charles, date unknown

100pp, paperback

No pricing information

Open Book

Review by Andy Hurt