Not Just Another 123 / Not Just Another abc

Not Just Another 123
Not Just Another abc

illustrated by Jack Viant
Noodle Juice

All kinds of crazy shenanigans occur between the covers of these concept books; their creators clearly had both adult and child audiences in mind when they dreamed them up. Whether or not young children will understand the clever combinations of visual and verbal humour, I have yet to decide. However I certainly had a good laugh at for example, in 123 the chicken and egg conundrum, the flexible flamingos working on their yoga asanas

and the sheep endeavouring to emulate them and the not so elegant octopuses getting their tentacles in a twist as they do a repeat performance of the hokey cokey. After a tongue twister involving toucans, a representative of each animal group turns up on the final spread – a number line – to encourage little humans to count from one to ten.

The abc book uses three letters per spread (except for the y and z page), and the chosen words on each verso combined with the illustration on the recto, present a mini story as well as perhaps, a starting point for a longer tale co-created by adult and child. Facing the words ‘alligator before crocodile’ are two scaly creatures standing outside a door above which is the sign ‘Dr Smiles Dentist’ and via speech bubbles they discuss who should go in first. The possibilities are many here, but my favourite is this …

I suspect the dragon’s thought bubble will go way over the heads of young children though they can have great fun generating ideas as to what might happen next. The fairy is clutching a wand so maybe she can find a way to save herself …

Different parts of speech – adjective, verb, noun, preposition – comprise the word combinations used adding the possibility of an extra grammar lesson for older readers.

As the characters’ speech bubbles on the covers assert ‘Boredom-free guaranteed!’

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