Mum for sale by Zanni Louise and Philip Bunting

cover image

Scholastic, 2019, ISBN: 9781742996080.
(Age: 3-5) Zanni Louise and Philip Bunting's Mum for Sale is a fun picture book perfect for reading aloud to youngsters. Errol the penguin is a cute little character with one big problem, his mum is always talking on her mobile phone. Mum's busy sharing news of the Fryer family's incident at Ice Mart. She faces away from Errol and continues to elaborate on the problems of an iceberg splitting and the family's dilemmas. While Mum continues to gossip, sharing an intensely interesting story over the phone, Errol tries repeatedly to gain his mother's attention.
Errol first calls out 'Mum', then repeats this to no avail. The smart little penguin then resorts to a series of more and more humourous actions. He leaves the scene to make a 'Mum for Sale' sign, he wants us to make an offer! What about a wagon full of snowballs to swap, or even a fish offered by a nearby seal who pops up from a hole in the ice? Errol can't be swayed by a jar of jellybeans, as his mum is driven away on the tray of a red truck. Errol's icy adventure continues as he asks a snowman, an octopus and a fish for help. Who does he need to help undo the jellybean jar?
Philip Bunting's fun illustrations take Zanni Louise's to another level. Against a simple linear, yellow, green and white background, Errol's story unfolds. Here the humour is illustrated through the interaction between Errol and the animals who offer assistance, and the underwater scenes are a highlight. Errol even manages a bathroom break!
Zanni Louise's amusing text provides opportunity for a class to share taking the penguin and the mother's roles.
'Mum for Sale' is a reminder as well for parents to pay attention to their children instead of using their mobile phones.
Themes: Penguins, Parental behaviour.
Rhyllis Bignell