Donkey's Busy Day by Natalie Russell

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Donkey's Busy Day by Natalie Russell

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: The farmer has gone to the seaside for the day and left hardworking Donkey in charge of the farm. That's all very well but none of the other animals are prepared to help him with the long list of jobs that has been left so it looks like it will be a long day. To avoid being totally overwhelmed, Donkey needs to call on all his powers of persuasion.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: February 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 978-0747595472

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My three year old daughter simply cannot get enough of good quality picture story books and I always know that it is a good one when she insists that we read it over and over again. As soon as I read Donkey's Busy Day with her, I could tell that this was going to become a firm favourite too.

In this story we meet Donkey who is an extremely cute and clever character. At the start, Donkey discovers that the farmer has gone off for a day at the seaside and has left him in charge. He has also been left a list of things to do that is as long as your arm. When Donkey tells the rest of the farm animals that he has been left in charge they are not very happy and certainly not at all cooperative when he asks for help with all the jobs. They make lots of excuses and leave Donkey to get on with them on his own. At first Donkey thinks that he can manage but by midday he is getting more and more tired and there's so much to be done. There's only one thing for it – he has to come up with a cunning plan!

Donkey tricks the animals by suggesting a picnic. However, if they are going to have anything to eat, they will have to gather the eggs, grind the grain, pick the apples and carry out all of the many other jobs on the farmer's list. Without realising they are being tricked, all the animals pitch in and before long they are sitting down to a sumptuous feast with far more than they could ever hope to eat. It just goes to show how clever Donkey really is and why it was he who was left in charge.

There are many reasons why my daughter loves this book. Firstly there's the very clever and funny storyline. She is particularly pleased that Donkey manages to persuade all the animals to help him and that's after feeling very cross that they are all so lazy! There are also some really gorgeous illustrations. They're all so bright and colourful with lots of details in each one. What we love most though, are the wonderful pictures of all the animals and the funny expressions we see on their faces.

There are also many interesting ways in which the text is set out. Mainly the story is told through a narrator and this is set out in attractive bold print. There is also the farmer's letter and the extremely long list of jobs. Both of these demonstrate that there are lots of different ways to set out writing. Best of all though, is how you gain quite a different sense of the story by reading the numerous speech bubbles that appear from all the animals' mouths. Here we get lots of the animals' reactions to each other and they really are a very argumentative bunch. A lot of the speech is extremely funny, and this particularly appeals to my five year old daughter. She is really taking off with her reading and is able to read most of what the animals say while putting on lots of funny argumentative voices!

I like the way this story provides a lot to talk about. My daughters think that most of the animals are very mean and lazy and they are quite outraged that they won't help. Strangely though, they have yet to see any parallels between this story and their attitude towards tidying up their toys sometimes! However, I'm thinking that next time they are a bit reluctant to help I might take a leaf out of Donkey's book...

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

If you like the sound of this book you could take a look at Farmer Joe and the Music Show by Tony Mitton and Guy Parker-Rees which is another humourous book set on a farm.

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Buy Donkey's Busy Day by Natalie Russell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Donkey's Busy Day by Natalie Russell at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Donkey's Busy Day by Natalie Russell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Donkey's Busy Day by Natalie Russell at


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