You, Me and Thing: The Curse of the Jelly Babies by Karen McCombie

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You, Me and Thing: The Curse of the Jelly Babies by Karen McCombie

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Magical mayhem at the bottom of a little girl's garden - a fun read for newly confident readers.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 144 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Faber Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0571272396

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At the bottom of Ruby's garden there lives a Thing. He's a strange creature, a little like a squirrel (only don't suggest that to him because you'll make him very angry! But he has wings, and huge bush baby eyes. Ruby and Jackson discover him together and decide to keep his existence secret which is all well and good until the magic starts, and then there's the curse and a bit of a problem with jelly babies!

This is a lovely, silly story. Told from Ruby's point of view it feels very personal and immediate, so all the action is very funny. The story would work for both boys and girls. Although it's told from Ruby's point of view, she's good friends with a boy called Jackson (who, in typical boy fashion, starts out by making a farting noise under his armpit every time anyone says Ruby's name!) The only thing that might put some boys off picking it up is the very pink, shiny cover but if you can manage to get them to look past that I think both boys and girls would enjoy the story, especially some of the magical tricks that Thing gets up to.

There's lots of lively conversation, which is quick and easy to read, and the vocabulary being used isn't too daunting. The humour in the book works well, even for a grown up reading the story aloud, and is a good mix of childish silliness and word play. I especially liked any conversations with Thing who, being a Thing, has never been taught English properly and only knows it from what he's taught himself by listening to people walking through the woods. This leads to interesting conversations, which reminded me of those I often had with my daughter when she was a toddler, for example when speculating that Thing might be an alien Thing asks What is a Nalien? and as they try to explain that an alien is something from another planet Thing asks What is a Nuther Planet? and so on and so forth!

I'm already a big fan of Alex T. Smith's artwork thanks to Claude in the City and his illustrations here don't disappoint, except perhaps that you can tell they'd be even better in colour. As it is, the black and white pictures certainly add to the humour of the story. There are pictures scattered liberally throughout the book, and used in different ways so sometimes as a typical picture next to text but other times with the artwork surrounding part of the text on the page, or illustrating sections of text in different fonts. It gives the book a fun feel, and would be helpful with those just gaining confidence to read by themselves.

Divided into short chapters, this is a fun story, and a good introduction to what I'm hoping will turn into a series of stories about Thing.

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

Further reading suggestion: If you enjoy this you might also enjoy some of the stories by Kaye Umansky like Clover Twig and the Perilous Path.

Buy You, Me and Thing: The Curse of the Jelly Babies by Karen McCombie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy You, Me and Thing: The Curse of the Jelly Babies by Karen McCombie at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy You, Me and Thing: The Curse of the Jelly Babies by Karen McCombie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy You, Me and Thing: The Curse of the Jelly Babies by Karen McCombie at Amazon.com.


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