“ Author: Jill Murphy / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 05 June 2006 / Genre: Picture Storybooks / Publisher: Walker Books Ltd / Title: A Piece of Cake / ISBN 13: 9781844285266 / ISBN 10: 1844285266 / Alternative title: The Large Family: A Piece of Cake - Jill Murphy / Alternative ISBN 10: 0744560039 „
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I like to browse my local charity shop from time to time and I have picked up some brilliant almost new childrens books for my little girl. ONe such book I picked up about a month ago was this 'A Piece for Cake' book by Jill Murphy, an author I was familiar with but from whom my daughter doesn't have any other books. It was the author's name that made me pick up this book, and given that there was actually a price label already on the front and it was in perfect unused condition, I was pretty pleased I got it for 50p!
I didn't actually realise until I looked the back of the book that this book is actually part of a small series of books on the 'The Large Family' - a family of elephants with the surname 'Large'. In fact, there are actually five books from this range. This particular story is about Mrs Large deciding that she needs to go on a diet and lose some weight. On the first page, when Mrs LArge describes herself as 'fat' I was a little concerned about this book, especially when shortly after the word 'diet' is used. However, I think within the context of the book, and with the end result being that Mrs LArge decides that elephants should be 'fat' anyhow. By the end of the book, I really don't think this story sends out a bad message and I think the words are meant to be fun, and to be honest that is exactly what my daughter gets out of the book.
This book follows Mrs Large as she gets the whole family exercising and eating 'watercress soup' and 'water' as a diet. They are all fed up and exhausted by the end of the day and feeling miserable. When a giant cake arrives in the post from granny, they all have to resist the temptation to eat it, until the cravings become to much and they all end up sneaking out of the bed for a piece of cake. At this point, Mrs Large realises that elephants are just meant to be fat!
My daughter giggles a lot at this book. She finds it funny that they have to eat 'watercress soup' and that they all end up slumped after a day exercising. She particularly loves how they all sneak to get the cake in the middle of the night. When I see how much my daughter enjoys this book, I see how it is meant to be fun and light hearted! Those who are politically correct may jump on the bandwagon and complain about the likes of the word 'fat' being used, but I think in the context of the characters and book, it is lighthearted fun with a positive message at the end. I certainly will be looking out for other books in the series now.
For my daughters birthday we bought her a box set containing this book along with four others. I remember this book from school and I thought that if I remember it after all these years then these books must be pretty good. I managed to pick up the box set of five off ebay for just over £8 and considering each book has a RRP of £5.99 I think I got a bargain, if you want to buy them individually you can buy it on Amazon for £4.49.
The series follows the Large family through everyday things, there is Mr and Mrs Large and their four children, Lester, Laura, Luke and baby. The books are published by Walker books and the edition we have of this book was published in 2006 so not the same edition as we were read at school. The book was originally written by Jill Murphy in 1989 and she also illustrates the books too.
The book is A4 size and is presented in landscape, I always find that this is a good size of book as it allows me to see the words easily and still allows my daughter to have a good look at the pictures rather than us playing tug of war with a book. The front cover of the book is different from the one displayed above probably as this is the later edition and is drawn on a jade green background darker at the top of the cover fading out to light jade at the bottom of the cover. There is a picture on the front of Mrs Large on the scales and looking pretty worried of what she sees, Mr Large is walking away from her with a piece of cake in his trunk and three of the children are looking on.
The book starts with Mrs Large announcing that she is fat and the children trying to convince her that she isn't but then saying things like "your our cuddly mummy" is never going to be that convincing. Mr s Large announces that the family will be going on a diet and no longer allowed to sit around all day, when the children come home from school she makes them have a jog around the park and when they ask what's for tea they are informed they'll be having watercress soup. When Mr Large arrives home he is made to go for his jog around the park before his nice healthy tea, none of the family were enjoying the new routine.
When it comes to weigh day noone has gotten any thinner and then a parcel arrives from granny of a delicious cake but Mrs Large will not allow them to eat any and puts the cake up high. Everyone can't stop thinking about the cake and in the end she gives in getting up during the night to get a piece of the cake and she finds there is only one piece left. The book ends with the Large family deciding that elephants are meant to be fat.
Each double page of the book has a picture on the left hand page with the writing underneath and then a full page illustration on the right hand page, the pictures are all simple and don't have a huge amount of detail but they are also colourful and inviting. The book covers an everyday issue going on in a lot of houses I know myself I often announce that our family needs to be healthier. The book is humorous for both adult and child and my daughter enjoys reading all the books about the large family. I use the story to explain to my daughter that she must eat helthy with her treats so we don't end up big and having to stop treats which she seems to understand.
This book is enjoyable to read and must be enjoyable to listen too as she does ask for it and the others from the series to be read numerous times. Lovely books that we would both recommend.
If you want to read a collection of books with your child that has a humerous quality that appeals to both adult and child then The Large Family series (about a family of elephants) will fit the bill. The stories are about every day issues that the average family experiences and children and adults of all ages will relate to these books. Jill Murphy, the author, is a hugely talented writer best known for the Worst Witch series and the Large Family picture books. She was already producing her own collection of hand-written and illustrated books from age 6 years although she was 24 years old before her first book was published.
A Piece of Cake is the 3rd in this series of picture books about the Large Family and was published in 1989. In this book Mrs Large decides that she is too fat and, determined to lose weight, puts the whole family on a healthy eating plan..................sound familiar to anyone out there? The children protest saying that she is their "cuddly mummy" and "just right" but Mrs Large is on an agenda and won't be swayed. They all begin to live on a diet of salads and going for daily jogs around the park. There are several funny incidents in this book, which most of us will relate to. At one point Mrs Large has just come out of the bath and wrapped only in a towel, weighs herself in despair, finding that she hasn't got any lighter. This illustration is hilarious and in the mean time her son tries to helpfully suggest that "perhaps elephants are meant to be fat". On a more serious note, the underlying message of this book is to accept ourselves for who we are (including the 'wobbly bits').
One of the things that my children and I especially like about these books are that although the elephants have human qualities, there is always several references throughout the books that they are in fact elephants and not people. Jill Murphy uses this effectively to not only make the books funnier ( such as with the comment above saying that elephants are perhaps meant to be fat), but also to point out that just as elephants have different qualities from humans, so indeed do we all have different qualities and our own identity.
The Large Family is now also a TV series on CBeebies but as always, when you have been introduced to the books first, the characters don't really fit in with the image that you have already built up in your mind.
Others in the Large Family series include:
Mr Large in Charge
All in One Piece
A Quiet Night In
Five Minutes Peace
A Piece of Cake is available on Amazon (a good but used copy) for about £2.76.
Although my 4 year old loves these books she has many other favourites too. However, this collection about the Large Family with a humour that appeals to both adult and child, is my personal favourite. I think this book will appeal to all ages but expecially children in the 3-7 year age category. I thoroughly recommend this book to all families with children and promise you; it will be one that you won't mind reading over and over again.
As a child, along with music, books were one one of my favourite things. I was always reading. One of my favourite authors was Jill Murphy. Today I will be reviewing one of her books.
A Piece Of Cake is a children's book, taken from 'The Large Family' which was a children's series of books by author Jill Murphy. This book was released in 1989 and so the story is twenty one years old now. This book is currently available to buy from Amazon for a price of £3.87. In this book : Mrs Large has decided that she is too fat! She decides that if she is going to suceed with her diet, then the whole family are going to have to join in with healthy eating and exercise.
I thought that this book was really sweet! I felt sorry for Mrs Large, when she was struggling to lose weight, as we all know how hard dieting can be. One thing which got me thinking was how times have changed. At the time of release the subject of this book would have been acceptable and taken with a pinch of salt, but now when you think of it, the book would be percieved as 'bad for children' as it highlights 'dieting' and we know how famous the 'size 0' craze is. However, on the other hand, I think that it also sends out a good message to children ; it's important to eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis, or you will end up looking like Mrs Large. I loved the characters in this book, because they are so 'real' and 'normal' even though they are a fictional family of elephants. All families can realate to the family in this book, as the book is about 'every day real life things', and so children, as well as parents will enjoy being able to relate to the book.
This book is great for children between the ages of four and eight (the recommended reading age). Whilst thrity two pages seems quite long for children of that age, I can assure you that the story itself isn't that long at all ; each page consists of only a couple of sentences, and the language is simple which means that young children will be able to understand what it's going on. There are some comical illustrations whill kids will find funny, but also clearly explain what is going on in the story to young children. Slightly older children will love being able to read this book themselves. The book is a fantastic price! I cannot believe how cheap it is ; it's well worth the money! What's great is the fact, that because they are so cheap you can buy all of the books in the series for a small amount of money ; perfect for children this Christmas.
I would definatley recommend this book to all young readers!
Thanks for reading!
November 30th 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)
I've always been surrounded by books as both my parents were avid readers & my love of reading has, fortunately, been passed on to both my daughters.
Although both grown up now (18 & 22) & having their own massive book collections I kept a few treasured ones which they had when they were young because of the happy memories they hold.
I came across some of these yesterday when I was tidying some bookshelves & found myself re-reading them - pure joy! - & one of them was 'A Piece of Cake' by one of our favourite authors. Jill Murphy. I think we've read all of her children's books & would thoroughly recommend them not only because the stories are good but also the illustrations are brilliant.
Looking at the price of £3.99 when bought many years ago, I'm not sure whether it'll cost more or less today but I'd pay more than that for the quality if I had to ever replace it.
It's published by Walker, is 15 pages (30 sides) & has a fairly durable cover & considering it's been readed 100s of times it's lasted very well indeed.
The story is basically about the Large family of elephants & begins with Mrs Large stating' 'I'm fat' & although Mr Large & the children try to convince her she's 'just right' we see how the elephants try to pursue a diet of healthy eating & exercise.
The illustrations are superb & the story is long enough to keep young children captivated without getting bored plus it's funny on an ault level as well.
The Lady : 'The illustrations are pure delight... More rueful smiles from mothers everywhere.'
Children's Book News : 'Perfect for sharing & laughing over with the smallest child.'
I'd recommend Jill Murphy's books to all parents/caregivers of boys & girls alike & would also say that we thoroughly enjoyed her other books including 'Peace at Last' & 'Five Minutes Peace' - there's a message in there foall of us!
Now my daughter has officially gone part time Nursery, I'm being bombarded with reading books. Not that I'm complaining. I love reading to both my daughters. Where Jess is bringing home books, its broadening the library that we have already got for her. Jess only started at Nursery this week and has changed her book everyday so far, but I thought I would grab this one quick and write a review on it. A Piece of Cake is about a family of elephants. Life within the Elephant household was as normal as any other elephants until Mrs Large took it apon herself to make a statement which would turn the families life upside down. "I'm fat", Mrs Large declared. All the family put up protest that Mrs Large was not fat. Things like " You're our cuddly mummy" and " You're just right". This made Mrs Large feel a little better until the baby stated , " Mummy's got Wobbly bits" Does that sounds familar? Its always out of mouth of babes and innocence isn't it. That was it. Mrs Large decided that all the family must go on a diet. No more cakes, biscuits, or sweets. No more sitting around all day, and lots of exercise. The children were most put out when coming home the following day when they were told that they couldn't sit and watch TV but they were to go for a healthy jog with mummy. And off they went. On coming home Laura, asked what they were having for tea. " Nice Healthy watercress soup, with a cup of water to follow" was her mummy's reply. Laura, barely holding on to her disappointment reply" That sounds .....nice" It was even worse for Mr Large. Who after coming home from work was accustomed to sitting down to dinner and watching the news. Like all men in my opinion, but there you go. Mr large became rather disgruntled when Mrs Large virtually kicked him out of the door, so he could go for a nice jog. When he got back , hi
s usual steak had been replaced by a sardine with grated carrot. The next few days was like torture to the family. Every morning, there was a healthy breakfast, followed by exercises.Then after a healthy tea, they all went for a healthy jog. By the time evening came everyone felt terrible, worn out and hungry. Even the scales were horrible to them as Mr Large stated, " We aren't thinner yet". " Elephants are supposed to be fat" Said Luke, which is right I have yet to see a thin one. The baby of the family who couldn't really talk very much just said " Wibbly Wobbly Wibbly wobbly", which didn't help at all. I suppose she could of meant " Jelly on a plate, Jelly on a plate. .wibble wobble, wibble wobble jelly on a plate", But Mrs large didn't see it that why and told her family that they shouldn't give in so easily. After a few days a parcel arrived from Granny. Inside this parcel was the biggest, pinkest, most beautiful cake any of them had ever seen. All the families eyes went wide and their mouths began to water, but Mrs Large was adamant that they should store and keep it just incase they had visitors to tea. Well as you can imagine, they all thought about this cake all day long. They thought about it at tea time, thought about it when jogging. But no one went to the cupboard were Mrs Large had stored the cake. They all even went to bed and dreamt about the cake. Mrs Large finally sat up and said to herself, " I can't stand it any more, I MUST have a piece of that cake" Slowly and quietly she sneaked out of the bedroom and slowly down stairs. She didn't want to wake anyone, so she crept into the kitchen and without turning the light on, she took out a knife from the drawer and went to the cupboard. What a surprise she got, there was only one piece left! " AH HA, Caught in the act! " shouted Mr Large. Mrs Large switched th
e light on after jumping in the air out of fright, saw Mrs Large and all the children under the table. Mrs Large began to laugh. She was the last person to get any cake but it was the best bit of all. " I do think elephants are supposed to be fat", said Luke." Wibbly wobbly, Wibbly wobbly!" went the baby. They all went to bed contented and happy, ready to face a normal day again. I've read this book 5 times since Jess brought it home this afternoon and I think its great. I really like the set out of Jill Murphy's books and this is no exception The edition I have here is a large, hard backed book with lovely illustrations and nice big clear writing. On one side you have the writing with a illustration by the side, and on the other side you have a full page illustration. These illustrations, which I presume Jill Murphy does herself as there is no creditation to anyone else, are beautiful. Coloured in with pencil, with soft bright colours makes the book very appealing to children. Most children are attracted by brightly coloured pictures which are clear and non fussy. All throughout the book, you can tell from just the pictures what emotions the family are going through while going on this healthy eating plan. This gives the child and the adult who might be reading it for then to talk about it afterwards and ask questions about the book. I.E. Why was Mrs Large upset at the beginning of the story? This is a vital part of learn to read. Anyone can read a book, but to understand a book takes thought and understanding. A child can also associate each emotion with her own feelings and emotions thoughout day to day life. The situation within the story and what I feel is a moral is accepting who you are within your life. Childrens lives are so much more complicated than so people believe. Its not all roses, and just like us adults, children have trouble seeing who they really are. Although most children adap
t to most situations very easily, if there is something that upsets then it does come out in one form or another. For example, Jess has started Nursery this week, I know that she enjoys it, she is a very sociable child and is used to being with her mum for a period of time. Yet, tonight for the first time in a long time, she didn't want to sleep alone. Whats this got to do with the story? Well, we all feel insecure in our life at some point dont we, and its usually because we doubt who we are. The moral of this story is the elephants are supposed to be fat. In this context, we have to accept who we are, faults and all, and its probably the most hardest lesson to learn in life. The only little niggle I can say about this book is about the word fat. I know. It might be me being over sensitive but I hate the word "fat". Its so clumsy. "Big" I think is a better word. I would hate Jess to come out an say " That lady is fat mummy". I know most children don't lie. They tell it as they see it and I would like to keep her honesty but I fell that there are some words that have to be used carefully around children. Anyway Read this book to you children, read and enjoy.
This is one of four stories about Mr and Mrs Large who are elephants. In this book, Mrs Large has the absurd notion that elephants can diet.