If I Were You by Richard Hamilton

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If I Were You by Richard Hamilton

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: When Dad is putting his cheeky daughter Daisy to bed, a chance comment gets them both thinking about what it would be like to be the other. They both have some wonderful ideas about what they would be able to do and these thoughts are brought to life by Babette Cole's wonderful illustrations. These is a warm but fun book to share with young children.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: August 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 978-0747587576

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As soon as I looked at the cover of this book I knew it was going to be fun. The picture of a daddy wearing a pink tutu with his hairy chest poking through at the top had both my daughters giggling before we even opened the book.

This is a lovely warm story which starts with Dad tucking his daughter into bed. Like many parents he is anxious that she gets a good night's sleep (probably so he can enjoy his own evening!) and says:

If I were you I'd snuggle down and go to sleep.

This comment definitely gets Daisy thinking because she starts daydreaming about what it would be like if her dad really was her and she was her dad. He then joins her in a very humourous conversation which illustrates their perceptions about each other. Daisy tells Dad that some of the things she will do will be to feed him porridge for breakfast whilst she eats chocolate fromage frais, read him bedtime stories but then go downstairs and then when she gave him a bath she'd make him wash his face, hair, behind his ears and everywhere! On the other hand Dad decides that he will watch TV while Daisy does all the cleaning and asks if he would be able to stay out at the park until it was really dark. It's lovely at the end when Daisy tells him that she'd tuck him in bed and give him a big kiss. However, after all this bantering, she does actually decide that she would rather be herself rather than Dad – I'm sure it's probably the thought of all the cooking and cleaning that puts her off!

I love the humour and warmth that comes through in this book and it's such a lovely idea to think about swapping places. It's interesting that they seem to pick out both the best and the worst of being either a dad or a daughter. I particularly like the way, as the conversation develops, that they seem to imitate words and phrases that they will have heard the other use. For example, Daisy tells Dad that he will be able to eat ice cream and see baboons at the zoo but only:

if you were very, very good and behaved exactly as you should.

She has probably heard her dad say this many times and it is lovely to hear her getting her own back. This is just one example of the lovely style in which this book is written and as a parent, there are one or two familiar phrases which perhaps I have used once or twice myself.

Most of this story is also written in rhyming couplets which add to the overall enjoyment but also enable young children to practice their early phonological awareness skills. My five year old is becoming very proficient in predicting the rhymes.

Both my daughters really loved this book and thought the ideas were very funny. I do think that there is a more subtle humour aimed at parents too. However, what really makes this story stand out are the wonderful illustrations from Babette Cole. She really seems to have the knack of creating the perfect picture with the attention to detail that transforms an amusing picture into a very funny one. The fact that Dad appears in a pink tutu in most of them is enough to make my daughters laugh but there are so many other little details that we really love too. One particular favourite is a picture of Daisy giving Dad (still in the pink tutu) a piggyback. They are so absurdly out of proportion that it is brilliant. Each time they look at the book, my daughters seem to have a different favourite picture.

Overall, we really love the humour and warmth that comes through so strongly in this book. The idea of swapping places is one that I'm sure will appeal to lots of children and I'm just waiting for the day when my daughter says:

'Mummy, If I were you...'

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

For another look at the paent child relationship we can recommend Baby Brains and RoboMum by Simon James.

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Buy If I Were You by Richard Hamilton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy If I Were You by Richard Hamilton at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy If I Were You by Richard Hamilton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy If I Were You by Richard Hamilton at Amazon.com.


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