Paddington at the Zoo by Michael Bond and R W Alley
|Paddington at the Zoo by Michael Bond and R W Alley|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: If the Paddington film reached those for whom the main books cannot quite yet deliver, these superb stop-gaps from the 1980s will keep the young fan perfectly entertained.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 24||Date: March 2015|
|Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books|
Cast your mind back to the weeks before the Paddington movie enchanted the world. There was a lot of press at the time about how the film had such mild peril and sexual innuendo that it was a PG-rated movie, and not a U. It became headlines due to the unassailable fact that Paddington just never seems to carry any threat to the audience, and to not have a single daunting bone in his body. But those larger books can easily be daunting to the very young people in which you wish to instil love of the character, which is where the picture book range of stories comes in. They're a lot smaller than the chapters in the main novels, and while those main books were still being produced as well they were quite uncommon occurrences, but with the 'proper' books out the way, these were pretty much all Michael Bond was producing as regards our favourite bear. Which can only mean one thing – they're equally brilliant.
This example is a case in point. It's just a charming trip to the zoo for Paddington, Jonathan and Judy – and half a dozen marmalade sandwiches. But lo and behold, finding the time to eat them in peace is impossible, when there is so much to see – and so many of the animals seem inclined to help themselves! So there's a simple descending counting game in the story as one by one the sarnies disappear, but there are also noises for the reading adult to deliver, and a simple, rounded tale that is just enough for the young pre-school audience.
And what's more, there are the illustrations. These books initially came out without Mr Alley's contributions, but that's practically unthinkable, for they’re instant classics in my mind, packing in the detail – other animals looking on, the signs and so on that make up part of a trip to the zoo, and more. With the script being reduced to about fifty or so words a page there's room for the images to shine, and they do so perfectly – which is just in keeping with said story. Like I said, there's no threat – and there's no danger of this being less than loved.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
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