Attack of the giant baby by David Lucas. Illus. by Bruce Ingman
Laughing from start to finish, readers will read the story again and again after reaching the twist in the tale that subverts the premise of a huge baby tearing up the kingdom. The king and queen are desperate at the news of the approach of a monster. Everyone is in uproar, trying to work out how to control the devastation caused by the intruder. The canny princess, always in the background, ignored, wants to remind them that the monster is only a baby. After sitting on the railway station, the baby rips up the railway line, turns the double decker bus on its head, shaking out all the passengers, flattens houses, kicks aside a bridge, while the king and queen and their unusual assortment of advisers work out what to do. After crashing through the castle walls, the king and queen send out their best knight and then the air force, all to no avail. They bring out their surprise defence, the monster bear, but after a hugging, the bear is tossed aside. Finally the king resorts to the dungeon where a dragon skeleton lives. Even he has no success. But sitting amongst all the devastation he has caused he seems somewhat desolate and when the canny princess asks him where his mummy is, all is resolved in an unexpected and delightful way.
Children will love seeing the devastation caused by the baby, recalling mayhem they may have caused in the past. They will try and help the beseiged kingdom, offering cries of support and suggestions about what to do about the monster in their midst. And when all is resolved, breathe a sign of relief among the laughs and turn to the front page to read it again.
The wonderfully witty images by Ingman show a delightfully self serving baby, indulging in the sorts of things babies do, without a care in the world for the things about them. His wry smile is infectious and winning, the small changes in his mouth eyebrows and eyes giving a fascinating insight into what he is feeling. The mayhem he has caused will elicit gales of laughter, as the soldiers run around not knowing what to do, the king and queen scratch their heads, while the princess looks bemused. Each page has a plethora of things to look at and take in, laugh at and recognise, and when the resolution occurs, laugh even more uproariously.
Themes: Babies, Kings and queens, Toys, Humour.