As Nice as Pie by Gary Sheppard and Tim Budgen
|As Nice as Pie by Gary Sheppard and Tim Budgen
|Category: For Sharing
|Reviewer: Sam Tyler
|Summary: Mavis likes to bake, but she also likes to feed the birds, but once they become too demanding she needs to teach them all a lesson in this wonderfully put together children’s book that has a wicked sense of humour.
|Date: November 2016
|Publisher: Maverick Arts Publishing
|External links: Author's website
The day that you build that bird table and set out some nuts you are unwittingly creating a millstone for your own neck. From now on your inner voice is going to keep telling you to keep the food topped up. What will happen to those poor little birdies should they go without, will you be to blame for their hunger? Worse than the voice in your head is if the birds themselves started to demand more food. Could you deal with a cheeky chaffinch or a rabid robin?
Mavis is kind of heart and skilful of hand, especially in the sphere of baking. Therefore, when she notices some hungry birds in her garden she decides to feed them more than just crumbs; she gives them some fine baked items. Little did she know that this generosity would lead to a dependency and the local bird population all demanding her golden goods. With Mavis backed into a corner she needs to go to great extremes to teach these birds a lesson and a certain 4 and 20 blackbirds spring to mind.
Some of the best children’s books are ones that take simple ideas and execute them brilliantly. ‘‘As Nice as Pie’’ by Gary Sheppard and Tim Budgen takes all the elements you want from a children’s book and moulds them into a wonderful whole. The story itself is a simple one, but great fun, all about how the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I prefer my children’s books to have some sort of message at their heart and Sheppard manages that by teaching children not to be greedy. This is a valid message in and of itself, but Sheppard wraps it up nicely in an almost Dahl-like situation when Mavis is forced to extremes. Thankfully, the threat is an empty one, but it is joyous seeing the sweet old lady show her dark side.
The humour in ‘‘Pie’’ is evident in the story, but comes across even more in the illustrations. Budgen has done a great job in creating a book that is appealing to a child. The colours are bright and the images bold, but the best element is that there are loads of fun things to look at. There are different types of birds all over the page and spotting them is a game in itself. My little one spent a long time just pointing at different birds and chirping away.
The combination of a great story and illustrations is enough for most books, but many an accomplished attempt has failed when the text fails to scan. This is the process of reading the book by the adult and making it bounce along nicely. ‘‘Pie’’ is told in a series of rhyming couplets and it scans brilliantly. It is the type of book which a child will love to learn reading from, but is also a joy to speak out loud as the text is so well created. ‘‘Pie’’ was an instant hit the first time it was read; the simple story, strong moral, clean illustrations, great rhymes and cheeky humour all combine to make a family classic.
Children’s books often use birds to tell a tale as in The Girl With The Bird's Nest Hair by Sarah Dyer, but sometime more unusual animals take a starring role - Not Without My Whale by Billy Coughlan and Villie Karabatzia.
You can read more book reviews or buy As Nice as Pie by Gary Sheppard and Tim Budgen at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy As Nice as Pie by Gary Sheppard and Tim Budgen at Amazon.com.
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