Tag Archives: Tom Jellett

Silly Things – Frog and Toad Together & My Mum’s Sayings

DSCN3783 (800x600)

Frog and Toad Together
Arnold Lobel
Harper Collins Children’s Books pbk
Frog and Toad are two of my all time favourite characters; I’ve loved them for more years than I care to remember. In fact they featured in Learning to Read with Picture Books, a short book I wrote as a young teacher and what I said then still holds: Here it is – ‘This is a book no child learning to read should miss, and sets a standard by which we should judge all the books we offer to children at the crucial in-between stage (before completely assured, wide reading.) It contains five short stories about easy-going Frog, who is the ideal complement to the volatile Toad. The List (my favourite story) is a hilarious sequence in which Toad’s day is brought to a complete standstill when the wind whisks away his precious ‘list of things to do’. As always Frog is there to save the day.
The green and brown illustrations capture the humour of the text to perfection.
A book to read over and over again.
In the other four short stories Toad discovers that growing seeds is much harder than he thought, the friends test their will power, discover they’re not as brave as they hoped and Toad has a scary dream. This new edition is picture book size in contrast to the original much smaller I Can Read format, which looked much more like a ‘grown up’ book. I hope this doesn’t mean it won’t reach its intended audience: it’s such a great book and so good to see it back in print.

 DSCN3784 (800x600)

My Mum Says the Silliest Things
Katrina Germein and Tom Jellett
Walker Books pbk
This is another title in the same vein as My Dad Thinks He’s Funny and My Dad Still Thinks He’s Funny. Here the elder of two brothers shares with readers some of the oft-uttered comments his mum addresses to him (and countless other adults make to children) –

DSCN3787 (800x600)

things said in all seriousness often, though the response is likely to be giggles, eye-rolling or shrugs from the recipient, all of which we get from the narrator. Every spread (except the finale) presents seemingly daft pronouncements and the title of the book either concludes or opens the scenarios, “When I’m noisy Mum says she can’t hear herself think. When I’m grumpy, Mum says you could land an aeroplane on my bottom lip” each of which is illustrated in quirky mixed media style.


DSCN3785 (800x600)

Jellett wittily encapsulates the textual wordplay and the idiosyncrasies of the English language.

DSCN3786 (800x600)

All in all, a fun tribute to mums – it would make an amusing offering for Mother’s Day or a birthday provided the mum in question has a good sense of humour. Smiles to the ready …

Use your local bookshop localbookshops_NameImage-2

Bathtime Problems with Small Elephant & Bruno



bathtime 1

Small Elephant’s Bathtime
Tatyana Feeney
Oxford University Press
Tatyana Feeney has created another endearing character, this time in the form of a small pachyderm. Said animal enjoys water in many contexts but despite his mother’s best efforts, most definitely NOT in his bath. Small he might be but Little Elephant has a strong will and, when crossed, a bad temper.

bathtime 2

So, when Mummy Elephant is almost out of ideas for cajoling her young offspring into the bath, she knows it’s time to enlist the help of Little Elephant’s Daddy.

bathtime 3

It’s a good job then that he is prepared to make a fool of himself in a good cause and it certainly does the trick where Little Elephant is concerned.

bathtime 4

Gentle humour, minimal colour and lots of white space allow the visual narrative to make maximum impact and the well chosen words are spot-on.
Yet one more Feeney winner for the very young.

bathtime 5

Whale in the Bath
Kylie Westaway and Tom Jellett
Allen & Unwin
Bruno is a boy with a fertile imagination. Ordered upstairs for his nightly bath, Bruno the narrator of this tale is confronted with an enormous whale languishing in the tub, making liberal use of Bruno’s bubble-gum scented bubble bath which it has the nerve to complain about – the cheek of it. Bruno endeavours to explain his problem to sister Ally, his Mum, his elder brother and then his Dad (whose back scrubber the whale also purloins) but to no avail. Well, what would you say to the boy who’d reported a bear under the bed …

bathtime 6bathtime 7






and a walrus in the backyard only recently?
The whale is in no hurry to complete his ablutions no matter how much Bruno urges him and has the cheek to criticize the facilities to boot: “It’d be quicker if you has a bigger bath. I feel like I’m washing in a bucket.”

bathtime 8

Under pressure from Dad to be in the bath in five minutes, Bruno confronts the whale again only to learn he could still be in for a very long wait, whereupon the creature finally comes up with an alternative solution – power shower anyone?

bathtime 9

With a great read-aloud text, gloriously retro illustrations rendered in suitably muted shades, a terrific finale and a chucklesome take on children’s imaginations this one has much to offer teachers in the classroom as well as readers at home.
Children could have great fun writing the story from the whale’s viewpoint or possibly taking another scenario – making the bed, brushing their teeth or doing their homework perhaps.

Use your local bookshop localbookshops_NameImage-2

Don’t forget… ibgdposterlarge