Timely Rescues for Mortimer & Monkey

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Mortimer’s Picnic
Nick Ward
Troika Books
Mortimer is eagerly anticipating the picnic he’s been planning to share with best pal Oggy when he hears that the whole thing’s off – Oggy has an awful cold. Or maybe not. “I know – I’ll take the picnic to his house!” decides Mortimer. So having packed the picnic food, a get well soon card, medicine and a storybook, off he goes to his friend’s house. Almost immediately down comes the rain and up goes Mortimer’s brolly; but suddenly, WHOOSH! up goes Mortimer too and down he comes into the middle of a river – and he can’t swim. In this particular river is a resident croc. who’s only too happy to give Mortimer a lift across in exchange for his sausages.

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Deal done and off goes a decidedly damp rabbit into the ‘dark and scary forest’, followed unbeknown to him, by the still hungry crocodile.
Before long there appears another hungry animal demanding more of the contents of the picnic basket …

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Fearing for his life, Mortimer complies with the wolf’s wishes and is duly led out of the forest, albeit now feeling decidedly snuffly and with yet another pursuer. He’s not out of the woods entirely even now though: more of that picnic is handed over – in return for a safe bridge crossing this time – and a chase ensues …

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before the tale takes a decidedly unexpected turn.
I won’t reveal what happens or how the tale ends: suffice it to say it’s an altogether satisfying finale for listeners, although perhaps not quite so satisfying for some of the characters of this action-packed saga of thrills, misadventures and friendship.
Observant readers will have noticed that before the story starts, Mortimer sits reading …

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and it’s that particular book he chooses to take along with him to visit Oggy – food for thought?


Doodle Girl and the Monkey Mystery
Suzanne Smith & Lindsay Taylor, illustrated by Marnie Maurri
Simon & Schuster Children’s Books
Doodle Girl’s place of residence is a magical sketchbook; she wields a magic doodling pencil and has several special friends including Mr Whizzy, Miss Ladybird and the Small Squeakies – there are two of them. The adventure we join them on starts with a pointy shape, which, with a few deft dashes and squiggles, Doodle Girl rapidly transforms into …


Off they all fly, across an ocean and eventually come to land on a tropical island. It’s there that, by wielding her magic pencil in similar fashion to Anthony Browne’s Bear she manages to pull off the rescue of a little monkey from the snapping jaws of a pair of hungry crocs,


as well as supplying all concerned with a tasty treat.
I’m all for anything that opens up the imagination and encourages creativity in young children. With the current tick box mentality that is all too prevalent in schools today, I see fewer and fewer opportunities being given in the classroom and even in nurseries for children to follow their own imaginative ideas. All power to Doodle Girl and her flights of fancy …

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