Burping Bertha by Michael Rosen
|Burping Bertha by Michael Rosen|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A welcome reprint of this book from a top author and a brilliant illustrator which will delight parents and children alike. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 64||Date: March 2012|
|Publisher: Andersen Press|
|External links: Author's website|
It all began very innocently and, well, quite accidentally. Bertha was lying in bed looking at Tiger, her cuddly toy, when she burped - and Tiger fell over. It was the precursor of a series of events which, at their peak, would make Bertha a multi-multi-mega-billionaire superstar and all as a result of what was nothing more than a lot of hot air. But it's not what happens when she gets there that matters - it's the story of how she did it and it's a brilliant tale told with all the ingenuity of Michael Rosen and accompanied by the wonderful illustrations of Tony Ross.
Burps don't have quite the child appeal of a fart, but they still have that 'not quite nice' aura which appeals to every child and Rosen makes the most of it. Bertha's burps begin by being small and accidental but progress to being almost earth shattering. It's a steady and very believable progression. There's a delightful play on the newspaper obsession with ages, with Bertha talking to dark-haired, blue-eyed 33-year-old Mum which is, if nothing else, an object lesson in the hyphenation of adjectives.
I did wonder if some of the humour would go over the heads (we're back to hot air again, are we not?) of the target age group of five to seven year olds, particularly as some of the vocabulary is very challenging. There's a spoof excerpt from the New Scientist: Genetical considerations apart, the environmental significance of a high velocity eructation... (is it just me or should high velocity have been hyphenated?) The message behind the story - the idiocy behind the cult of celebrity - is also perhaps a little advanced but it's a book which can easily be read on two levels.
A child is going to love the story of a little girl who defeats the school bullies (including the teacher who falls into that category), becomes famous because of her burp and wreaks havoc in the process. It's absurd, ridiculous and ludicrously funny all at the same time. An adult sharing the book with a child is going to appreciate a lot more about the story but it takes nothing away from the child's fun.
For an adult it's a quick read with only sixty pages in the book and there are few pages without an illustration. A child is going to need to work at it a lot more - and there are going to be plenty of opportunities for explanation and discussion. Most short books are probably better borrowed than bought but this is one which will be read over and over. Do try to let the kids have a look at it too.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For more on a similar theme we can recommend Michael Rosen's Big Book Of Bad Things also, as you might expect, by Michael Rosen.
You can read more book reviews or buy Burping Bertha by Michael Rosen at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Burping Bertha by Michael Rosen at Amazon.com.
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