Big Band Night: Read-to-Me Storybook ("Fifi and the Flowertots") by Various

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Big Band Night: Read-to-Me Storybook ("Fifi and the Flowertots")

Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: A TV tie-in featuring Fifi, Stingo and the rest of the Flowertots brigade in the build-up to a big concert. Not better and not worse than any other TV tie-in; and here at The Bookbag we think that TV is best left watched.
Buy? No Borrow? No
Pages: 32 Date: January 2007
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0007225972

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Why is it that children's television shows tie-ins are so uniformly dire? Even the best ones are only just about passable; and most are dreadful. It has nothing, or anyway very little to do with the show in question. It might have something to do with the fact that the language of television is different from the language of books, and as a picture book is seen as being relatively visual, not much effort is put into translating the show into the book form.

The best tie-in merchandise doesn't reproduce a story of a particular episode, but uses characters from the shows to feature in games, puzzles and activities with an odd story thrown in, like in playbooks of the Where's Noddy? type or cbeebies magazines devoted to Tweenies, Tractor Tom and the like.

Big-Band-Night is a typical of such tie-in story books. It features characters from the immensely popular Fifi & the Flowertots series in a story that looks like a typical TV episode: Fifi and the Flowertots have formed a band and are preparing for a big concert. Bumble is trying to practise his drums but the naughty wasp Stingo gets annoyed with the racket Bumble makes and steals Bumble's drums as well as some honey. Will the Flowertots be able to find the drums and recover the honey, essential for curing Fifi's hoarse voice?

The text in the book is similar to the Wombles, Dora or those Disney books filling in charity shop shelves. There is nothing wrong with it, and yet it's totally unmemorable. But somehow, it feels like an executive summary of a marketing report: it's bland, correct, sparkless and just plain boring. Of course, it won't be boring for the child enamoured of Flowertots, it's just there is so much excellent writing for children that this kind of a exercise is just a waste of time.

The illustrations are photographic and look exactly like stills from the show would: this would undoubtedly appeal to the little fans, but again from the adult perspective, why bother with the book?

Apparently over a million copies of various Flowertots books have been sold in a year and a half since the launch: here is the power of synergy marketing for you. There is nothing acutely wrong with the Big-Band-Night or any other Flowertots products. The show is charming, the books well produced, and even include an activity to do at the end. But there's absolutely no reason to devote any time to it either, as there are so many much better books for children. Enjoy Flowertots where they belong and when reading go for something else.

Buy Big Band Night: Read-to-Me Storybook ("Fifi and the Flowertots") by Various at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Big Band Night: Read-to-Me Storybook ("Fifi and the Flowertots") by Various at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Big Band Night: Read-to-Me Storybook ("Fifi and the Flowertots") by Various at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Big Band Night: Read-to-Me Storybook ("Fifi and the Flowertots") by Various at Amazon.com.


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