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Lauren Child is well known for her Charlie and Lola series of books. All of her books we own feature characters that are children, and they all have the same sort of illustrations that are quite flat and child like in appearance. This short story features a little boy called Herb. He is having a sleepover with his friend Ezzie. When they are dropping off to sleep, Herb picks up a book to read, and he finds himself in the middle of this book of fairytales. We get to see Goldilocks and Cinderalla how they have never been before. Herb has previously vandalised this book by drawing in it and tearing out parts of pages, and the characters are not at all happy about it and want Herb to sort it out. Can Herb escape from Cinderella's stepmother in time? The joy in Child's books comes from the non-linear appearance of the pages. It can make it a little tricky for a younger reader to tackle alone, but there is something very fun about parts of the book being written in a coil shape, and other parts being printed upside down, and one page there is even a great big hole in the page which is written into the story. My favourite page has a picture of a door. you can then open out both pages in the double page spread to view a scene within the palace. There is a great sense of expectation as you open the door to find what is inside. This book for me is better for slightly older children who are familiar with the plot of fairy tales as they were originally written. They can then get the humour of the tales being twisted as they are in this novel. My children also initially found the start of the book a bit scary. It describes things that Herb usually reads, and there is a picture of a vampire which my son was covering with his hand, so I needed to just reassure him that it was only a story briefly so he could enjoy the book. I find this can be a bit scary, the concept of a book coming to life and some of the fairy tale characters are not that nice. Goldilocks in particular is horrid, and the little boy Herb is quite scared as he runs between all the stories in his book. However, all is well before the end of the book, and I felt that my children were reassured by the end and did find it an amusing story. This is quite a long story, but the lovely illustrations and interesting text mean that it is a great story to read to children and chat about the plot with them. My son is currently doing a topic about Goldilocks and the 3 bears at school in year one, so he particularly enjoyed seeing an alternative version to the story. I think Lauren Child is a fabulous childrens writer, for me in the same league as Julia Donaldson, though I feel her audience should be slightly older. My children have appreciated Donaldson's writing style since they were about 18 months to 2 years old, whereas its only now that they are almost 5 and 6 that they are appreciating the style of this book and adequately able to understand the concepts.
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf is an inspired picture book by the author Lauren Child (author of the well loved Charlie and Lola books). This story is about a young boy called Herb who falls asleep whilst reading his fairytale book. He wakes up to find, much to his surprise, that he is in the cottage of the three bears and goldilocks (who is not amused) is yelling at him to get out. He follows her command and after meeting several fairytale characters, he realises that he must have fallen into his story book. Herb soon gets into lots of trouble with all of the different characters as he sees how ruining his book by ripping pages and drawing on them has effected the outcome of the stories as the characters cannot finish what thye have set out to do. For example Cinderella cannot go to ball because Prince Charming had been cut out of the book. In the end Herb manages to escape from the Fairytale book and is returned home. He decides to put everything in the book that he ruined back to how it should be by fixing and cleaning all of the pages. This story is so fun but it is very difficult to read as the words do not follow the usual conventions, they literally fly and jump off of the page and can be in many unusual places. The pictures are amazing. If you have read or seen Charlie and Lola or any of Lauren Child's books before then you will know exactly where I am coming form. The characters are simply drawn but all of the backgrounds and objects are decorated with real fabric which has been scanned into the computer and made to shape the object. Children love the wonderful pictures and words, they enjoy both the simple and complex language of this story, making it an excellent read for children and adults alike.