Chocolate Porridge (Early Reader) by Margaret Mahy and Terry Milne
|Chocolate Porridge (Early Reader) by Margaret Mahy and Terry Milne
|Category: For Sharing
|Reviewer: John Lloyd
|Summary: A lovely and warm tale of a little dreamer and his personal recipe. Both author and artist have baked this concoction to perfection.
|Date: March 2014
|Publisher: Orion Children's Books
Young Timothy has been drummed out of his mother's kitchen by her and his sisters, so he cannot join in with their baking. Instead, he goes to the garden and devises chocolate porridge – a lot of mud, plus some other ingredients. But only when he's happy with his craft does he begin to realise that not even calling mud chocolate porridge makes it edible. Oh, what is a boy to do?
This book for emergent readers really does fit the bill. There's an issue to discuss after a joint reading session, about gender stereotypes and siblings picking on each other, but principally there is a great narrative. This, in fact, is a cut-down version of a story almost as old as I, but has ageless pleasures and still has relevance. It loses nothing in its entertainment, as it builds industriously alongside Timothy's working, and perfectly balances the pause before we learn what chocolate porridge is actually good for.
Nor has it lost any spark in the writing. The sun was splashing the [garden] stones with hot gold. There was a lawnmower waiting to clash his teeth in the grass. You don't expect such lyricism in a book that generally reduces itself to one or two sentences a page. The rest of the pages, of course, are the illustrations, and these would complement any picture book for any age bracket. There's a great range of facial expressions for Timothy, showing the young dreamer happy while hard at work.
Designed to have the brevity and gentle vocab of something a parent would share with their child for a first read or two, I'm sure this is one that would be picked up more than twice. If mum or dad is dragged back to reassure over a shoulder now and again, I doubt the charms of this little book would make that ever a problem.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
The Dragon's Dentist by John McLay is a similarly excellent offering from the same publisher. Slightly younger children will enjoy Boom, Baby, Boom, Boom! by Margaret Mahy and Margaret Chamberlain.
You can read more book reviews or buy Chocolate Porridge (Early Reader) by Margaret Mahy and Terry Milne at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Chocolate Porridge (Early Reader) by Margaret Mahy and Terry Milne at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.