Review Blog

Sep 20 2018

You can't let an elephant drive a digger by Patricia Cleveland-Peck

cover image

Ill. by David Tazzyman. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408879146
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: STEM. Probability. Humour. Verse. A range of improbably domesticated animals are given impossible things to do, inviting every reader to simply laugh out loud at the antics shown. Each double page shows an improbable scene: a shark in the bath, a polar bear cutting hair, a seal acting as a chef, brushing your teeth with a crocodile and more, all illustrated with gusto, hinting at the possible things which may happen with the animal doing something he is simply not designed to do.
Told in four line rhyming stanzas, each page invites the reader to predict the last word of each line and many adults will find children learning the stanza detailing the animal they like best. Kids will love the looks on their faces as they try out their impossible tasks, and the corresponding looks on the children's faces as a shark appears in the bath or an octopus helps with dressing or a wolf offers to read a bedtime story. Each page bristles with laughter and kids will love looking at the detail where other things are happening: mice carrying away the mousetrap, a cat under the table eating the fish dropped by the seal or the elephant's poo dropping onto one of the workers.
Full to the brim with hilarity, children will relish this unusual tale, another from the duo who created "You can't take an elephant on a bus". David Tazzyman is new to me and I found out more about him here. Initially a commercial illustrator, he illustrated the "Mr Gum" books for Egmont in 2006 and has illustrated children's books ever since. Patricia Cleveland-Peck has written some 14 books and more information can be found here.
Fran Knight

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