Mr Pusskins and Little Whiskers by Sam Lloyd
|Mr Pusskins and Little Whiskers by Sam Lloyd|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Magda Healey|
|Summary: Another New-Baby arrival picture book disguised as animal tale, with great looking artwork, good text and some great humour, this is recommended for children aged 3-5, especially with a sibling.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: July 2008|
|Publisher: Orchard Books|
The first instalment of Mr Pusskins adventures met with a positive reception, the second tale continues to dress human family conflicts in the clothes of modern animal fable. That does sound rather serious, doesn't it? But we are talking a picture book for children here, and the story in Mr Pusskins and Little Whiskers is, possibly, more directly emotionally relevant to children's lives than the original one in which Mr Pusskins felt suffocated with his owner's love and longed for adventure (eventually walking out on her). Unless the children have daddies who did just that, obviously.
In the current volume, Emily surprises Mr Pusskins with a, yes, what but a kitten! The kitten is called Little Whiskers and, although presented by Emily as a fabulous surprise and being keen on lovely games; she proves to be rather a handful and not only constantly harasses poor Mr Pusskins but also ruins his special times, from dancing in front of the set during telly time to grabbing his food at meal times to waking him up at nap time. And Mr Pusskins always gets the blame, too! Things get seriously wrong when Mr Pusskins ends up in the alley after being blamed for one of Little Whiskers' worst transgressions. As it's a picture book for kids, though, all ends well and life becomes perfect again - for all three of them.
This is a story for any child who is presented with a baby sibling that proceeds to grow into a pesky toddler. The disruption, the blame, the demands, the whole horrible change; and the (hopefully) eventual developing of mutual understanding and affection are captured very well. I had often, before having a second child, pondered how can any parent do such a terrible thing to their first-born (it was done to me, obviously); and this little book illustrates the whole palaver rather admirably.
But there are many, many books like that: The Arrival of A New Baby is, after all, one of the major (if possibly not The major) rite of passage for a small child. What makes Mr Pusskins and Little Whiskers more than averagely endearing is that Mr Pusskins can be also seen as representing the Daddy; what with the fabulous surprise in the big box, and their previous life together that involved sharing magic moments just us two, and that reading makes it hilarious rather than just mildly funny(and you don't need to tell the child you are sharing the book with).
The setting and some touches to the language are, I feel, consciously old fashioned, with the style of the artwork resolutely modern. The illustrations are vivid and confident, the faces expressive and the visual humour engaging.
The text is short and the proportion of text to pictures makes this book suitable for a child from about 3 years old, while the language is not dumbed down at all. There are also nods to Bagpuss (Emily!) that add charm to the final effect.
I liked all that and I feel that Mr Pusskins and Little Whiskers has a good chance of becoming a favourite of many a family, especially ones with a combination of a toddler and a young school child.
This book was sent to the Bookbag by the publishers.
Nothing, but nothing beats Judith Kerr's Mog in the cat-story-for-children stakes.
If you've a baby on the way your child might also enjoy I Want A Sister by Tony Ross, particularly suitable for toddlers, or The Baby (but I'd have liked a hamster) by India Knight, while Charlie and Lola books explore the sibling relationships when the little 'un grows a bit bigger.
You can read more book reviews or buy Mr Pusskins and Little Whiskers by Sam Lloyd 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 Mr Pusskins and Little Whiskers by Sam Lloyd at Amazon.com.
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