Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner

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Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: When Augustus sets out to discover his smile he manages to find himself in a book that matches great illustrations with a dynamic text. Is that doesn't make him happy, nothing will.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: May 2016
Publisher: LTP
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781848692329

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Trying to find a tiger's smile is no easy feat. The chances are that it will be on the end of their face and this is a face full off teeth, attached to a powerful cat with claws. Personally, I would leave finding a tiger's smile to someone far more trained that I, or the animal themselves. Thankfully, Augustus is a practical chap and he sets out to discover what exactly did happen to his smile.

To search for his smile, Augustus must go on the adventure of a lifetime that will see him plunge the depths of the ocean and climb high mountains. He will look far and wide, but it is not until he looks into a pond that he discovers what he is after. Perhaps it is not worth worrying about losing your smile when you can enjoy the journey trying to find it.

Augustus and His Smile is a picture book that's able to match the story wonderfully with the illustrations. You can tell that Rayner has taken on both duties herself as she makes the most of each page. Augustus' journey takes him to many different places and Rayner uses this opportunity to play with the reader. If the tiger climbs a mountain the text climbs with him, or in the rain the words plip and plop across the page. The way that Rayner places the words on the page give them added dynamism and fun.

The evocative nature of the text is enhanced further by her use of intelligent words. The sentence structure is great fun and act as slight tongue twisters, but are actually just lovingly constructed sentences. The story itself is gentle and is perhaps nothing more than one animals road trip, but the destination is worthwhile as the moral is one about enjoying the moment. This is the type of thing that is useful for most adults to learn about, never mind children.

The final element that makes Augustus a special book is Rayner's illustrations. There is a wonderful sense of colour and fun on each page, but you can also tell that she has an eye for detail. Colour is also a large part of the book, it is used to enhance the mood; one page may be full of greens depicting the jungle, the next ominous purples as a storm rolls in. Rayner should be very proud of the work put into this story as it is one that captures the imagination of both the child and adult.

The only tiny issue lies with some of the text being harder to read against the darker backgrounds. This is an intrinsic problem with using a dynamic style to add drama to the book. This is a tiny blip in an otherwise gorgeous book. The special 10 year anniversary edition of the book has a nice hardback cover and slip jacket, but any copy will be a keeper for a household with children ages 0-5 years.

If you like the look of this book then why not try another by the same author/illustrator Smelly Louie or perhaps you are more interested in tigers; in that case there is a stone cold classic in The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

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Buy Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner at


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