The Man Who Wore All His Clothes by Allan Ahlberg and Katharine McEwen

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The Man Who Wore All His Clothes by Allan Ahlberg and Katharine McEwen

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Madeline Wheatley
Reviewed by Madeline Wheatley
Summary: This is the first in a series of stories about the Gaskitt family. It makes an ideal bridge between picture books and longer chapter reads, while also being great for reading aloud. I defy you to read it without smiling.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 80 Date: April 2002
Publisher: Walker
ISBN: 978-0744589955

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This is the first in a series of stories about the Gaskitt family. It makes an ideal bridge between picture books and longer chapter reads, while also being great for reading aloud. I defy you to read it without smiling.

The title refers to Mr Gaskitt, who is seen getting dressed at the start. But what is going on? Mr Gaskitt puts on ALL his clothes and leaves the house transformed from a slim young father into a walking wardrobe. His family treat this as normal…

What follows is a typically eventful day in the life of the Gaskitts. There are minor accidents, pizza, a bank robbery, and a hijacked school bus - all leading to a happy ending. The whole family is involved. And in the case of the Gaskitts, the family includes not only Mrs Gaskitt and the nine year old twins, but also the family cat (likes easy chairs and cat food ads), the family fridge (five star freezer, good speller) and the family car radio (sometimes gets things wrong). Who doesn't like a book that makes them laugh? There are jokes here to be enjoyed by the whole family.

It must be one of the most difficult tasks a writer can undertake; to produce an engaging, humorous and meaningful tale using a fairly simple text. Ahlberg is completely sure footed in carrying it out. He knows his audience, has a well tuned ear for dialogue, and his experience as a former primary school teacher shines through his descriptions of the school outing to the swimming baths.

Ahlberg is aided in this book by Katharine McEwen's vibrant illustrations which leap off every page. The pictures add a real sense of movement as they snake in and out of the words. In addition to reflecting the text with precision, the images add to the reader's knowledge of the characters in the tale. Look at Gus, the family cat watching sad movies on TV with his hankie at the ready.

This story is a riotous explosion of colour and fun. The whole book shouts LOOK AT ME from its bright and cleverly designed cover to its vibrant, action packed inner pages. Even the colour contrast between the cover and the end pages is a shout, calling out to the developing reader – pick me up and read me. This is a must-have title aimed at children whose reading confidence is growing, but it is every bit as good for a family read-aloud. Just make sure you get the edition with the illustrations in colour – there has been a cheaper edition produced in black and white, but go for the full 'Technicolor' experience!

Follow on stories about the Gaskitts are The Woman Who Won Things, The Cat who Got Carried Away and The Children Who Smelled A Rat. These titles are equally enjoyable and as beautifully produced. Older primary school readers might like to move on to Ahlberg's poetry collection Please Mrs Butler. Here at Bookbag we were much taken by the ingenuity of Previously. For more clothes-based fun, check out Lulu's Clothes by Camilla Reid and Ailie Busby.

Buy The Man Who Wore All His Clothes by Allan Ahlberg and Katharine McEwen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Man Who Wore All His Clothes by Allan Ahlberg and Katharine McEwen at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Man Who Wore All His Clothes by Allan Ahlberg and Katharine McEwen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Man Who Wore All His Clothes by Allan Ahlberg and Katharine McEwen at Amazon.com.


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