When Fred the Snake Got Squished and Mended by Peter Cotton
|When Fred the Snake Got Squished and Mended by Peter Cotton|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A wonderful way to teach children how not to cross the road and a book which opens up so many other areas of discussion. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? YES||Borrow? YES|
|Pages: 30||Date: August 2018|
|Publisher: Bublish, Inc|
|External links: Author's website|
Meet Fred. Well, actually, you're going to be meeting Fred-Fred for reasons which will become all too obvious very quickly. But I'm getting ahead of myself: I'd better tell you a bit more about Fred. Fred is a snake and even those of us who have a phobia about snakes are going to warm to him. He arrived as a present in a box with holes so that he could breathe and immediately became part of the family, to the extent that they would take Fred out with them when they went out for a walk. And that was where the problem started. Fred didn't have any road sense. Or brakes.
Fortunately, it was an ambulance that squished Fred in two. That's how he became Fred-Fred. But there was a problem: Fred-Fred was too long for a stretcher and the fire brigade had to be called. They, happily, had relevant experience and Fred was transported to the hospital on a ladder. Once there, four trolleys were needed to take him to be x-rayed. I'm not going to tell you anymore - you really have to read it for yourself to find out what happens to Fred-Fred.
It's a glorious story. At first, I thought it was going to be dreadfully sad but there's wonderful humour in the telling of the tale and I laughed out loud on several occasions. The story is told in rhyming couplets and Peter Cotton has a talent for evocative phrases:
Fred came from a steamy forest spot,
where even winter days are hot,
the home of hairy beasts that go oink-oink,
and drop things on your head, boink-boink.
It's a swampy place with lots of squelch,,
the only noise a muffled belch,
of a nearby rhino in the mud,
chewing the primeval cud.
You've got a picture in your mind, haven't you? I had too. The book has been illustrated by Bonnie Lemaire and the pictures are wonderful. I found something new every time I read the book: they're images to linger over and discuss. The main feeling I had when I finished reading the book was that it was that the story and the pictures opened up so many areas of discussion between carer and child.
There are the obvious road safety aspects: sometimes showing how not to do something is a very good way of instilling the basic rules in a way which will be remembered. There's a discussion to be had about whether Fred should be away from the forest in the first place and how we look after animals in our care. Then there's the scope of the help which a hospital can give and whether or not being squished in two is something from which you can recover.
It's a book which is going to be picked up time and time again because it's so well written and Cotton can be very playful with words:
Before my eyes poor hurrying Fred
Was CUT IN TWO...he scarcely bled
For in snakes blood a something flows
To stop them leaking when they're squoze.
The book is educational without preaching to the reader and that means that children will go back to the story regularly which gives rise to my one minor area of pickiness. The font is great for an experienced reader but I'd have liked something a little clearer, a little less ornate for the emerging reader. Yes - I know - I am being picky.
I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.
You might be surprised to find that Rabbit is frightened of snakes in Rabbit and Bear: The Pest in the Nest by Julian Gough and Jim Field.
You can read more book reviews or buy When Fred the Snake Got Squished and Mended by Peter Cotton 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 When Fred the Snake Got Squished and Mended by Peter Cotton at Amazon.com.
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