It’s Mums that Make THE Difference

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The Great Cheese Robbery
Tim Warnes
Little Tiger Press
Most of us have something that sends shivers down the spine; I get alarmed when a big dog comes bounding in my direction. Large, strong Daddy Elephant is completely fearless, well not quite; actually he’s terrified of mice. Imagine his response then, when a small grey, furry rodent calling himself Cornelius J. Parker arrives at the door claiming to be a cheese inspector. Ignoring his cowering father, young Patrick helpfully shows CJP the family’s stash which is immediately pronounced “VERY DANGEROUS” and two more mice duly arrive to confiscate the whole lot, fridge and all as a health hazard. But that’s not the only thing Mascarphone and Manchego, for those are the names of Cornelius’ co-workers, proceed to remove right under the trunk of a cowering Daddy Elephant. Before long the whole house is overrun with mice while its contents is gradually disappearing out through the front door.

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In the nick of time however, back comes Mummy Elephant and she, most certainly, is not afraid of mice.

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This one’s been getting lots of laughs from my audiences of under sixes who are particularly taken with the idea of dangerous cheese and the sight of Daddy Elephant being lifted aloft by ‘the whole mouse gang,’ as one boy called all those fiendish, tiny grey creatures.

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Thank you, Jackson
Niki and Jude Daly
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
It takes a boy to show his farmer father the way to get things done in this story set in rural South Africa from the Daly husband/wife partnership.
One morning having toiled up the same hill for years, loaded down with produce for market, Jackson the donkey gets halfway up and digs his hooves in, coming to a complete full stop.
Despite the farmer’s pulling, pushing, and cursing, the donkey flatly refuses to budge. The furious farmer searches for a stick to beat the poor creature.

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Fortunately for him however, the farmer’s wife, who has been watching the action from down below, calls her son, Goodwill and sends him up the hill to assist his father. Goodwill arrives on the scene just in the nick of time and seeing his father about to hit the donkey, calls out and prevents the beating. He then approaches Jackson and whispers in the animal’s ear whereupon much to his father’s surprise, up gets the animal and the three of them proceed to market, sharing the load between them.

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What was it that Goodwill said to the donkey and indeed shamed his father, who realized he’d never used those words to his faithful beast of burden? Just ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ the little ones that his Mama was always telling him make all the difference.
One can almost feel the simmering heat coming from Jude Daly’s dusty rural scenes that accompany Niki Daly’s gently humourous story, a story with a message that we all need to remember no matter who or where we are.

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