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Rotten and Rascal - Paul Geraghty

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Paperback: 32 pages / Publisher: Andersen / Published: 3 Jan 2013

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      28.12.2012 17:55
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      A must have for families with squabbling siblings or a twisted sense of humour.

      Rotten and Rascal are two terrible Pterosaur twins. They live in a land filled with thunderstorms, active volcanoes and landslides - but the noisiest thing of all is the screeching and screaming of two quarrelsome siblings - meaning their neighbours never get a minutes peace and quiet. The illustrations in this book are absolutely perfect. You can see the little Pterosaurs faces scrunched up and beaks open wide as the scram, shout, screech and bellow and each other morning noon and night. My sons loved the expressions on their angry faces - as well as all the screaming screeching and shouting.

      Now the prehistoric pest were always arguing, but one day they both dived down to catch the same fish. Rotten said he should have it, because he saw it first, but Rascal felt he should have the fish because he was the loudest. A terrible screaming hullabaloo ensued until Triceratops tried to settle the argument by saying the fish should go to the Pterosaur with the best beak. So naturally the next screaming argument was over who had the best beak. Other prehistoric reptiles suggested other ways to settle the argument - all of which led to more screaming and arguing. Even a suggestion that the fish should go to the dinosaur who argued the least erupted into a screaming match with each dinosaur claiming they argued least. This was another part my sons found especially funny with the little creatures screaming and spitting about how little they argued. Ankylosaurus thought the fish should go to the toughest dinosaur and this resulted in a terrible fist fight, with even more screaming and shouting.

      All this racket disturbed a Tyrannosaurus Rex. He is drawn to look very angry with furrowed brows and a huge mouth full of teeth as he yells at the screaming twins to quit fighting and yelling - so we have even more screaming! T Rex demands to know which little reptile is " the fattest, the juiciest, the crunchiest and the tastiest". Of course this sets off another screaming match with each Pterosaur claiming to be the fattest, juiciest and tastiest. And finally silence fell as for the first time ever the twins stopped their incessant squabbling. The illustrator has done a brilliant job drawing the T- Rex leering down with drool dripping from his sharped toothed jaws as the twins stare with wide open mouths finally shocked into silence.......

      My sons did enjoy this book - especially all the screaming and shouting. This is one of the stories that has resulted in my losing voice more. I think most children like seeing other children misbehave and these little creatures are truly terrible. My oldest saw the ending coming - as I expect most adults will - but my youngest did not and he ended up as shocked into silence as well with his mouth hanging open and his eyes wide. He does realise it is just fiction, but all the same - I don't think he particularly likes the ending. My oldest on the other hand found it very funny. this is a book that parents will need to exercise discretion with - for some children it will be a great laugh as well as a possible lesson on sibling rivalry - for others it is sure to end in tears. Although this is a picture book, I would not recommend this one for toddlers - I would suggest ages 4- 8 but even then some at the younger end of this age range may be frightened or upset. Read this book yourself before reading it to a child and do not buy this for a niece or nephew without asking the parents first.

      I am quite lucky in the fact that my sons usually get along exceptionally well - but all siblings do have occasional squabbles and I'm sure many parents will empathise with the tortured dinosaurs trying to get some peace and quiet. In fact I think many parents are apt to find this book every bit as funny as the children do. Books like this can also help children see how silly their own behaviour may seem at times as they have a good laugh and someone else doing the exact same thing. I think books like this can be a really good starting point to discuss frustrations and tensions between siblings - and it can be a great ice breaker as well. I am fortunate that shouting arguments are a rarity in my house - but if one does come up and I throw in a few Pterosaur like screeches and tell the children that is what they sound like before asking which one is the tastiest it is sure to end in giggles.

      I am very, very impressed by this book. The illustrations perfectly match the story and the build up of arguing and screaming, getting louder and louder is brilliant as well. Paul Geraghty has both written and illustrated this book - and perhaps this is why the illustrations so perfectly capture spirit of the story. The arguments have captured sibling rivalry at it's most extreme and and the facial expression on the dinosaurs are absolutely brilliant. It is a story that can be both useful in coping with sibling tensions and terribly fun as well - but as mentioned it will not suit every child. Some children will be left in tears from laughter, but others may be in tears and nightmares. It certainly fits the bill for my collection of unique stories though - I've never read anything else like this.

      I bought my copy of this book used for £2.81 including postage from amazon Marketplace. New paperback copies sell for £5.39.

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