Mad in the Back by Michael Rosen and Richard Watson

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Mad in the Back by Michael Rosen and Richard Watson

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: This picture book is dyslexia friendly so that parents with reading problems can still read to their child. I've some doubts about the story but the book will be a blessing for many families.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2015
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd
ISBN: 978-1781125090

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Mum is setting off on a long car journey with two kids in the back - did I hear you groan? Mum groaned too because she knew what was going to happen. She told the kids before she set off that they had to behave because she couldn't drive properly if the kids were going mad in the back. The kids told her not to worry - and off they went. Then the kids started The Moaning. Every parent will know exactly what this means: requests for drink, food, windows open... Then the squabbling starts: accusations that HE has got my book, ears are bitten by HER. Mum tries diversionary tactics: look out of the window - there's a lamp-post. (Yes MUm - we know desperation when we hear it.) And it gets worse. And worse. Then Mum snaps.

I bet you're nodding wisely: I know I was. I have a slight concern about the story because Mum really has no way of improving the situation. I think gagging the kids and putting one in the boot might be considered illegal and dumping them by the roadside and driving off will have the police after you in a flash. Even when Mum slams the brakes on and has a showdown with the kids, it looks as though the same thing is starting all over again. I'm not certain what sort of a message this is going to send to kids. Here's how to reduce Mum to a frazzle? That's me being picky though. There is a 'find your way home' puzzle in the back, which might get silence for five minutes.

Michael Rosen captures the kids perfectly: they're not bad, they're just a brother and sister confined in a car when usually a field isn't big enough to hold them both without a fight starting. He knows every phrase that's going to be used and he even (in my extensive experience!) gets the sequence right. Richard Watson's pictures are excellent. I liked the fact that the family isn't pearly white with blond hair: times have moved on and we're a multi-racial society now.

There's a bonus with this book. How do you read to your kids if you're dyslexic? How do you cope with silly fonts and words going all over the page when you're eyes do that for you without even trying? What about that glare you get from the shiny pages in picture books and the distracting colours? If you don't read to your kids are they going to be disadvantaged? Barrington Stoke's Picture Squirrels range provides books for parents to read to their children which have all the same characteristics as the books designed for dyslexic kids. The background to the words is a matt cream and there's no bleed through from the reverse of the page. The font is simple and clear and the encourages you to move on to the next word. It's as easy as it's going to get for the adult with dyslexia.

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

If this book appeals then you might enjoy Wolfman by Michael Rosen and Chris Mould.

Buy Mad in the Back by Michael Rosen and Richard Watson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Mad in the Back by Michael Rosen and Richard Watson at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Mad in the Back by Michael Rosen and Richard Watson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Mad in the Back by Michael Rosen and Richard Watson at Amazon.com.


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