This is the Way in Dog Town / Cheesed Off! / Blue Badger

This is the Way in Dog Town
Ya-Ling Huang
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Spend a day in Dog Town with little ones and you’ll soon be singing along to the tune of Here we go round the Mulberry Bush. Just like humans, the residents of this canines only town start by brushing their teeth, after which they get dressed (with a bit of adult assistance) as they ‘Pull, pull, pull!’ Then it’s off to school, hurrying of course as there’s so much there to enjoy be it drawing, playing outdoors and having lunch at midday. Duly sated, ‘Yum, yum, yum!’the afternoon is spent painting and swimming. Early in the evening, the young dogs, walk home and once indoors the way they eat their dinner is let’s say rather messy as they ‘Slurp, slurp, slurp! their way through plates full of spaghetti. So, it’s as well they have a jolly good scrub in the bath later in the evening before retiring to bed.

As they share this book with an adult, little humans will enjoy joining in with action words, as well as emulating the puppies’ actions and exploring the various busy scenes created by Ya-Ling Huang.

Cheesed Off!
Jake Hope and Genevieve Aspinall
uclan publishing

The humans are having a party and it’s time for the photos: on the count of three everyone say “Cheese!” but what about that warning sign at the start of this book – the one about a certain word bringing mice from their house. Too late! The partiers have uttered the word and it’s been heard behind the skirting board. Out come the mice but not a whiff of cheese can they detect. Not a single sighting of a sliver can they spy no matter how hard they try.
Then suddenly an announcement is made and something with candles atop is carried in. Now what might that be …

Huge fun for those in the early stages of becoming readers especially, is Jake Hope’s extended joke illustrated with lots of amusing details from the viewpoint of the mowses’ – oops, make that mice. Therein Genevieve Aspinall shows how humans don’t always realise what’s actually going on right under their noses – or, to be more accurate, beneath their feet.

Blue Badger
Huw Lewis Jones and Ben Sanders
Happy Yak

Badger is having an identity crisis: is he black or is he white – albeit with a blue bottom having sat down beneath a bush to eat berries. Off he goes to ask the opinion of other creatures. Bird is unsure, Dog doesn’t know either although he admires Badger’s blue rear and invites him to play. Both Cow and Skunk are dismissive whereas Zebra is equally nonplussed about his own colour markings and Panda merely takes the opportunity for some self-flattery.
Whale sends Badger off to meet Penguin whose considered response is both helpful and constructive, making Badger feel much more positive about himself as well as perhaps, a tad hungry … Happiness at last.

Author Huw Lewis Jones adopts an almost detached tone to his gently humorous text that includes a repeat refrain, while Ben Sanders places his black and white characters on stark, coloured backgrounds in this story with its ‘You can be whatever you want to be’ message.

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