October 2016 ReviewsPosted by Max 29 Oct, 2016 08:36PMCan I Eat That?
by Joshua David Stein, illustrated by Julia Rothman, published by Phaidon
Our now three and a half year old daughter has always been keen to try new food. She has some unusual favourites too - she adored olives at a very young age, is a tomato fiend, and now has a penchant for aubergine. Her little sister has just turned one and already has half a mouthful of teeth. As she starts to try new flavours and textures, both of them are curious to know - what's for eating and where is it from.
'Can I Eat That?' is a picturebook worthy of a Michelin star - with its big dollop of laughs, its generous dash of surrealism, and its eye-candy illustrative filling. A culinarily curious child will revel in the questions posed on the books pages such as "If I can eat jelly...and I eat fish...can I eat jellyfish?!" The delightfully surprising answer of "Actually, you can!" is accompanied by an informative explanation and tasty demonstration.
Fun is also had with plays-on-words - "If there is ketchUP is there...ketchDOWN?"
There is visual humour too, such as the image of a tiny green oval against a shocking pink backdrop, accompanied by the question "Is this a faraway lime or a life-sized pea?"
There's also a pretty good explanation to that most philosophical of eatery enigmas - the respective origins of chickens and eggs.
The pictures throughout are a feast for the eyes - seasoned with a distinctively pop-art flavour (with nods to Warhol's soup and Lichtenstein's backdrops). Possibly our favourite page is the final one, with the heading "Can I Eat?" - presenting a smorgasbord of linguistic tapas, from "two cans of soup" to "toucans", from an "eclair" to a "high chair", from "apple pie" to "pineapple".
Can I Eat That? is a truly satisfying delight, from first course to pudding.
October 2016 ReviewsPosted by Max 11 Oct, 2016 07:44PMOld Bear's Bedtime Stories
by Jane Hissey, published by Scribblers (Salariya)
There are very few things in life as rewarding as reading a story to a child at bedtime, in fact it is probably number one. Over the last two weeks, our stories at bedtime comprised of the complete Old Bear's Bedtime Stories, a truly wonderful compendium of amusing, kindly reassuring and beautifully depicted tales of Old Bear and his friends, some of which were first published more than 30 years ago. Our three and a half year old daughter has been soothed each night by the gently meanderings of the book's charming characters, including the impulsive Rabbit, the accident-prone Duck and the wise Bramwell Bear.
The compilation cycles through seasonal settings, such as picnics in the sun, carving smiling bear-faced jack-o'lanterns (which by popular request we will now be making for Halloween), dressing up for the Christmas party, and knitting an un-meltable snowman. The stories are interspersed with whimsical rhymes and poems, and throughout the book the narrative is accompanied by Jane Hissey's now famous, near-photographic illustrations.
One of our favourite chapters was the story of Henry Isiah - the bear with one eye higher than the other - who wants to change his name to James. His friends arrange a new name party for him, but when the invitations are taken out for delivery by dog, he doesn't know who James is, so Henry Isiah doesn't get an invite and misses all the fun of his party, including the games and cake. As a result he realises it's a "bit risky" to change his name. Anyway he figures that he actually likes his name, mainly because when he writes it on a balloon it goes all the way round, and is twice as long as James.
This is a treasury in the real sense of the word, with a very high quality production value throughout this hardback's 160 pages. It would make a perfect gift for a special occasion like a first birthday and, like our copy, would be sure to become a long-term family favourite.