The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon

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The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: A psychedelic adventure parents will enjoy as much as the children.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 48 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Digital Leaf
ISBN: 978-1909428027

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I really enjoyed this book, but it is pretty clear from the outset, that this book will not be everyone's cup of tea. I'm just waiting for it to make an appearance on the banned or challenged books lists ( I read them regularly and get many of my best books from them). Curious George has been challenged more than once for being having a pipe in one illustration, but Weasel in this book is never without his. Coupled with the surreal, psychedelic images and the dream like quality of this book - there are sure to be complaints, but I don't think the author or illustrator will mind. I can't imagine this book being written or illustrated by anyone who gives a fig about political correctness. And in all honesty, there is nothing in this book that children are going to take the wrong way. The illustrations in this book are not going to make a child smoke a pipe anymore than they will make them try to go swimming in the fish tank. But if you prefer more mainstream children's books you might want to give this one a miss.

Personally, I love books that break the mould, and this was most certainly does that. There are a growing number of adults collecting children's books for themselves now - and this book is perfect for grown up collectors. It will take many of us back to our childhoods and the artwork alone makes this worth purchasing. This has been described as Doctor Doolittle meets Sergeant Pepper. Not exactly the words I would have chosen but this definitely does make me think of the Beatles, The 5th Dimension and of Jefferson Airplane. I was quite disappointed that the submarine in this is brown, but I suppose a yellow one would have been copyright infringement. More than anything else though, this book makes me think of Alice in Wonderland. I think I would describe this as Alice in Wonderland meet The Age of Aquarius. Opening the pages takes you on a magical journey through the looking glass into a different lands with rainbow waterfalls, ice cream mountains, lava lamps and a meditating weasel.

The illustrations are what drew me to this book. My favourite is of two blue goldfish who look quite put out as a pig, weasel, baboon puffin, lobster and unicorn swim through the aquarium. My sons on the other hand preferred the puffin in underpants. The use of colour is brilliant, adding to the overall surreal effect. There is a very 1960's feel to which I enjoyed, as well as the fact that this book is just so peaceful and relaxing.

The story is told in a mostly rhyming fashion, but sometimes the lines don't quite rhyme, and other times the author doesn't bother with the rhyme at all. I didn't find this a problem, I'd rather have the odd couplet that doesn't rhyme than sacrifice the story. The story is simple, and as one could deduce from the title concerns a race between the weasel, puffin, unicorn, baboon, pig and lobster. All of the animals end up cheating, except for the poor unicorn. The unicorn insists it is better to lose fair and square than to cheat and gives up the race, thinking it hopeless. But this book does have just a bit of a moral, and cheating does not pay off. It is a happy ending for everyone, finishing off with a recipe for Cheats Fool and all the animals enjoying a giant dish of the dessert.

If I were rating this book purely on my own opinion, it would easily merit five stars, However, this is a children's book, and while the children did enjoy this, it hasn't held their interest long enough for me to give this the highest rates. It is a fun book. It is grand for a wee laugh or just artistic inspiration, but the strength of the story isn't quite enough to push into the favourites pile. This is definitely a keeper, but something that will be read now and then rather than night after night. As such I can only give this four stars as a children's book. If however you are considering this book for an adult collector, this is definitely a five star offering.

You might also enjoy:

Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman

One Night, Far From Here by Julia Wauters

This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie and Kathy Jakobsen

Buy The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon at Amazon.com.


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