Buy for the story, stay for the pictures.

ImageGood Night, Sleep Tight, written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Judy Horacek, is a beauty. I know I’ve covered Fox twice, but my Ph.D is focusing on Australian picture books so I’m Aussie-centric at the moment. The story is sweet, rhythmical and altogether light-hearted.

Skinny Doug is babysitting Bonnie and Ben. He seamlessly sews their favourite bedtime stories together to create an exciting adventure for the children. It’s not a brain-bender, it’s just lots of fun. My favourite aspect of this book is the illustrations

Judy Horacek creates bright, bold and neon cartoon-like images, which is unsurprising given her profession as a cartoonist. She is also an author in her own right.

Together, Horacek and Fox have challenged gender norms and expectations, and have done so subtly. I’m not sure if this was purposeful, but it was nice, and even somewhat of a relief, to encounter a male babysitter. Skinny Doug is not threatening or creepy. He’s just babysitter who can spin a good yarn.

Horacek’s depictions of the children are androgynous and delightful. They are zany to look at and, combined with the illustrations, the story is silly and wacky in an ordered sort of way. Good Night, Sleep Tight is described as whimsical on the back, and it lives up to the description.

Buy this book for the story, stay for the pictures. Find it at http://www.booktopia.com.au/good-night-sleep-tight-mem-fox/prod9781742832579.html?source=pla&gclid=CLTDkL26r70CFQHKpAodxhQAaQ

 

 

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The ‘Ten Little Fingers’ vs. ‘Spot’ conundrum..

spot and duckI love Mem Fox’s Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes (illus: Helen Oxenbury). It is sweet, engaging, the rhyme is tight (it is Mem Fox after all…) and it’s one of those that I, as an adult, love reading to my son because it somehow involves me. My son, however, has the patience of a walnut with some books and is obsessed with others.

Again and again, he giggles and coos as Spot (written and illus by Eric Hill) looks for his ball, talks to the ducks, says something or other to a hippo and is generally always stuck looking in the closet for one thing or another.

I, on the other hand, adore the rhythm of Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. It is so simple and yet so sweet and I’m sure was a challenge to write. I hope one day to write my own little Ten Little Fingers. My favourite page is the one with the little baby hands and feet. All chubby and innocent. That double page beauty does get my son’s attention. But, ultimately, my son is steadfastly averse to letting me get through it.

So, what is a mummy to do? I can definitely see benefits of the Spot books. They have a lot of repetitive words, the bright, solid and simple colours are attractive. They are enjoyable to read every now and then because of how much my little man enjoys them.

But, sometimes, I want to kick the darn duck… I realise I am referring to a book about a talking dog here, but he truly does come across an inordinate amount of ducks.

I hope one day my son will let me waggle his little fingers and toes as I read him the melodious Fox ode to babies everywhere. In the meantime, it looks like it’s Helen the Hippo and that crafty, ubiquitous duck for me.

You can get Ten Little Fingers here: http://www.boomerangbooks.com.au/Ten-Little-Fingers-and-Ten-Little-Toes/Mem-Fox/book_9780143503583.htm?gclid=CPyI9dbkpL0CFULvpAodYEwABQ

Spot books available here: http://www.amazon.com/Eric-Hill/e/B000AQ202K