This is NOT a Bedtime Story

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This is NOT a Bedtime Story
Will Mabbit and Fred Blunt
Puffin Books
If you like your bedtime stories to be of the calming, wind-down variety then you might find yourself in agreement with the title of this book – it’s certainly not one of those, thanks to the determined efforts of young Sophie. This lively miss has just persuaded her dad to share one more story before she beds down for the night and Dad has her chosen book ready for a short one. That’s his plan; but from the outset, his daughter is unimpressed and ready to jazz up what appears to be one of those cutesie pink narratives: here she goes …

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Pretty soon – the fifth spread to be precise –things look a whole lot more exciting with Pink Kitten wielding a lightsabre, a ‘real lion’ on the scene (introduced earlier),

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a dinosaur on the loose and Barney in grave danger.
By now Sophie has completely subverted the plot and everyone including Dad and the household have been sucked in to the excitement –

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Tension builds as Pink Kitten has to rev up her helicopter; with built-in rocket launcher it’s crucial if they want to save Barney, now in the clutches of The Robot Dinosaur.

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Looks as though they’re heading for annihilation ,which is where we’ll leave them and cut to

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where we see once again the various toys that have fuelled Sophie’s runaway imagination in this humdinger of a metafiction.
Like Sophie (or should that be author, Will Mabbit?), illustrator, Fred Blunt has given full rein to his imagination (not to mention placing his first picture book, Captain Falsebeard strategically on Sophie’s bedroom floor in the opening scene.)
Particularly effective is the contrast between the artistic style he uses for the saccharine Pink Kitten story at the outset, and the zany ‘real’ characters in ‘our’ story. That, and the way the Pink Kitten story morphs into anarchy with the unfolding adventure that Sophie (and Dad) become engulfed in. Maybe not a bedtime story, but certainly one not to be missed.

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