Danger Is Everywhere: A Handbook for Avoiding Danger by David O'Doherty and Chris Judge
|Danger Is Everywhere: A Handbook for Avoiding Danger by David O'Doherty and Chris Judge|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A very unusual style of read for children aged about nine-ish and up, this book has a tendency to do just one thing, but does it well.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: August 2014|
Meet Docter Noel Zone. Yes, it's his spelling – safely making sure people don't think he is a real doctor. And safety is his first and foremost interest. After having to rescue too many people in his job as a swimming pool lifeguard – he banned all movement in and around the water as it was just too dangerous, after which however the people in the water started to drown – he made it safer for all concerned by removing the water. I'm sure he'd barricaded the diving board off long before – even in his own home he's removed the stairs as a safety risk. This book is his illustrated guide to playing it safe, in all aspects of life – from the hazmat suit needed to make toast to illustrating what you need to do when attacked by a polar bear or a toothbrush snake.
What’s safe to say is that you will certainly get a titter or two out of this book, although perhaps not as many as intended. It looks all cartoons and no words, but despite the book being very repetitive (constantly congratulating you on reading thus far so safely, and reminding you of the quiz at the end) there is actually a strongly-sustained world where the good Docter is concerned. So while the book pretty much is all on one note – a note of caution, obviously – it manages to cram in quite a lot of richness. There's a back story to everything, from Noel Zone having a stone for a pet to his charming and unrequited love for the gorgeous cabbage seller who lives next door. (Noel loves cabbages, and not just for eating – they're a lot safer to dance with than other people, for one.)
What's also evident is the fact this book has a certain kind of droll spoofing quality. Early on we're given a guide to Docter Zone's acronyms regarding safety education (and just be thankful I don't turn every term of mine into its initials – that would be plain rude). We see pictures of his two long-suffering nieces NOT enjoying themselves in his company, and learn the taunts of the neighbouring children. There's clearly a send-up here of the kind of health and safety jobsworth that many of us can point to, permanently bearded (as razors are too risky) and forever in their high-viz clothes and making bureaucratic terms and regulations up as they see fit.
So despite being fond of HUGE fonts here are there, and having many many cartoons across its pages, this book does offer quite a lot on reading. It's hard to define as a novel, given the writing style, but it's certainly fiction and there certainly is a character in Noel Zone. If there had been a way to take the book further and do more with it as regards narrative I might have found a bit more favour with it, for to repeat it is pretty much a one-trick pony. Still, I did laugh late on (at a classical music joke), so the chuckles will safely be presented if you dare to risk picking this sharp-cornered object up and allow yourself the chance of having paper cuts, and suffering from the Page Nine Scorpion, and – oh heck, it's just too risky. I think you'll have to get a qualified adult to read it to you instead.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
And we have a review of the next book in the series.
It's very hard to think of anything similar to this. I guess books with characters such as Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire by Andy Stanton and David Tazzyman are its antithesis - but still feature an older man being completely weird in the eyes of the passing children.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Danger Is Everywhere: A Handbook for Avoiding Danger by David O'Doherty and Chris Judge at Amazon.com.
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