Review Blog

Nov 23 2018

There's a baddie running through this book by Shelly Unwin and Vivienne To

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760630614
(Age: Preschool+) Recommended. Themes: Humour, Books, Robbers and outlaws, Theft. There's a baddie running through this book is a fun, action packed and engrossing story which encourages children to follow the path of destruction left by the baddie (a racoon). From page one he sneaks his way through the pages stealing different things from other animals he meets. Each time he steals something, it is a piece of paper torn from the illustration, asking children look more closely at the drawings and seeing where the torn piece fits. This encourages interaction on a different level as they must use spatial skills to see how the pieces align.
The thief leaves a trail of sweets and nuts behind him as he makes his way, and this allows the police and those from whom he has stolen to follow and catch him. When he is caught all the goods are returned to their rightful owners and he is locked up, but in tearing a piece of the illustration showing the jail, the question must be asked, how long will he stay behind bars?
The illustrations are great fun encouraging children to pick out the baddie in his mask, with his sack over his shoulder, while laughing at the disruption that he leaves behind and sympathising with those who have lost goods. The book will easily lead classes to discuss the idea of law and order, encouraging them to see what mayhem the thief causes, and how upset those he has stolen from can be. They will see that his crimes lead to jail time, but the twist in the tale gives a hint that he may escape.
I loved the cleverly torn pieces of the drawings, encouraging children to use their eyes and think about how each piece fits, and where the pieces come from. I love the endpapers with the array of characters from the story, encouraging readers to recognise and name each animal.
The rhyming pairs of lines encourage readers to predict the last word of each line, while the use of 'up' and 'down', 'above' and 'below', 'fast ' and 'slow', 'left' and 'right', all reiterate words used every day. The seemingly simple rhyme is infectious: There's a baddie running through this book, Turn the pages; have a look. There he goes, did you see? Sound your siren, chase with me (Publisher) and a joy to read aloud.
Fran Knight

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