Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Stars by Gervase Phinn

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Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Stars by Gervase Phinn

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Category: Humour
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Funny anecdotes that reminded me of James Herriot, but with kids instead of animals! If you like children, and the funny things that they say, then you'll enjoy this!
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 112 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 978-0141036434

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I spent many of my teenage years reading James Herriot's books, and I found that this collection of anecdotes and poems by Gervase Phinn had a real flavour of Herriot about it. Perhaps it was just the setting, for Phinn was a school inspector in the Dales for many years, but I think he also has that knack of capturing a situation, and a character, and bringing out the humour without making the person appear ridiculous. Here he collates stories from his other books, some Christmassy and others not, and he relates them with several of his own poems interspersed between.

In one he tells the story of a little boy who sat shyly in the classroom. When Phinn goes to look through his workbook he finds he has written a piece entitled 'Myself' that is full of self-deprecation, a sense of not being very good at anything. Flicking through the book he comes across something scrawled at the back that he thinks is wonderful. He tells the little boy how much he likes it and asks for a copy. This is what it says:

Yesterday yesterday yesterday
Sorrow sorrow sorrow
Today today today
Hope hope hope
Tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow
Love love love

Phinn tells the boy it is a wonderful little poem, to which the little boy replies They're mi spelling corrections, sir!

Phinn's own poems felt, to me, a little too simplistic for a book that's seemingly for adults. However, I suppose it would make it shareable family reading matter. I found myself skipping through the poems quite quickly and moving on to the next funny story. I liked the anecdotes not just for their humour but because there are also quite moving moments too, such as a little boy who has been marked as 'remedial' yet he quite fluently and confidently speaks to Phinn about farm life, delivering baby calves, the different breeds of sheep etc. The illustrations throughout the book add to the gentle, humorous feel, and they are playful and fun.

It's a very little book, small format and just around 100 pages. This isn't a bad thing as such, just something to be aware of so you're not disappointed on buying it to find that it is so small. I personally thought it was a perfect toilet book, which also isn't an insult! I always think it's nice to having something funny and interesting to read in the bathroom, and books like this with short chapters make perfect bathroom reading! It's easy to dip in and out of, and would make a nice gift for anyone who works with children or enjoys the funny things that they often say. I certainly enjoyed the author's style and will be seeking out his previous books for more stories.

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

Further reading suggestion: For those who want to read more about the author's life: Road to the Dales: The Story of a Yorkshire Lad

Buy Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Stars by Gervase Phinn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Stars by Gervase Phinn at

Buy Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Stars by Gervase Phinn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Stars by Gervase Phinn at


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