The swap by Jan Ormerod

cover image

Ill. by Andrew Joyner. Little Hare, 2013. ISBN 9781921541414.
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Sibling rivalry, Humour, Family. Despite Mama Crocodile's best efforts at increasing daughter Caroline's interest in her new baby brother, she fails at each fence post. Giving a long sentence of similes which expound his virtues, Caroline can only respond that he smells. Mum alludes to his lovely scaly skin and sharp claws, but Caroline can only see how much room he takes up on her mother's lap. She decides that she should swap him, and goes to the baby shop where she is able to exchange the baby for something new.
Each time she does this, the differences between her baby brother and the animal she choses, stand out. Taking a panda, she is embarrassed when he begins to eat the cane furniture at the cafe, and the elephant she takes hops into the town fountain breaking it.
Each time she realises that perhaps her baby brother is not as bad as she thinks, and so learns a lesson that will be obvious to all readers.
Illustrated with wonderfully lively drawings of the array of animals that live in the town will delight the readers who will see far more each time they venture inside. I love the main street with its different shops and shop windows with flats on top displaying a variety of styles, I was intrigued with the details within the shops the girl entered and loved the picture of Mama Crocodile and her two offspring on the last page, displaying all the love and affection that exists between the three, and no child will miss the humour of how Caroline learns to love her brother while Mama is shopping. The production of the book with its strong library binding makes it a pleasure to hold and open. A wholly entertaining experience, made all the more poignant by Jan Ormerod's death earlier this year.
Fran Knight