Oi Aardvark!

Oi Aardvark!
Kes Gray and Jim Field
Hodder Children’s Books

Frog seems to be mining a seemingly bottomless – or maybe it should be bottomful – pit in Kes and Jim’s new Oi offering.

At the outset he throws out an invitation to the titular animal to participate in his new book that’s to be entitled ‘My ALL-NEW ALPHABETTY BOTTY BOOK. Dog is all agog; not so the cat who is, as usual, a sourpuss and ready to pour cold water over the enterprise even before it gets underway.

I have to hand it to Frog with his first chair substitute though, it’s pure genius: “Aardvarks will sit on cardsharks!” Nevertheless a certain feline is ready with a bit of negativity: “What’s a cardshark?” it demands. “It’s a shark who’s really good at playing snap!” comes Frog’s rapid response. That should shut Cat up, but let’s see.

We get through B and C without any interference, and only a minor bit of banter from Cat comes to herald in D. But then Dog’s tongue-twisting mix-up of a comment fuels another catty utterance. Eventually Frog announces his D and on we go safely (actually pretty precariously) through E and F.

For G, Frog has two clever inclusions – “giraffes can sit on baths and Gazelles can sit on bells!”

With horses comfortably seated and iguanas less so, clever claws Cat cheekily interjects again. (as if Frog doesn’t know his alphabetical order – well really!).

Anyway, or rather, Frog’s way, J. is duly dealt with and then as we’ve already been told, comes K. K is splendidly stinky …

Looks like the frog is the only one amused about this botty placement.

Off we go, with the dog heaping praise on our book compiler and guess who being its usual party pooping scorn pourer. Let’s skip to P and be pretty sure there’s a treat in store – ta da! Four animals happily installed on their bum bearers; but then comes another treat in the form of a double fold-out taking us through – with an inevitable purring pouring of cold water from the cat, to X.

Yet again Frog emerges triumphant, even giving himself a round of applause before zipping off through Y to the grand finale and completion of his book.

Or maybe not quite: we’ll leave it to the threesome to get to the bottom of their zany dispute.

So far beyond brilliant that it will never find the way back is this combination of Kes’ carefully and creatively concocted, rhyming, weaving of wordplay and Jim’s superbly silly seating solutions shown in his side-splitting visuals.

I’m hoping against hope that Frog doesn’t decide to rest on his laurels after this, his latest tour de force. I can’t wait to share it with anyone I can get to sit on their selected sit-upon.

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