A few years ago I had really enjoyed reviewing Rebecca’s picture book, ‘The Something’. A heart-warming story about looking, thinking and asking questions. A book about being happy with not knowing all the answers but keeping watch anyway in the hope that something surprising will appear.
So imagine my delight when I picked up ‘Aunt Amelia’ from a bookshop located a very posh part of South London.
As soon as I walked in the shop I was greeted by the sight of a four year old who was demanding to be read a story from her parent and who was racing round the shop beside themselves with excitement. Aforementioned parent was in the phonics section selecting dreary educational books to be bought and kept for when they were on holiday.
If only I could have placed ‘Aunt Amelia’ in the little girls hands or at least read it aloud to her.
The story begins with two children who are in a bad mood because their parents are going away for a day and a night and leaving Aunt Amelia in charge. To add to their grumpiness they are told to be good. Mum and Dad leave a long list of instructions which Aunt Amelia thinks will be very useful.
‘Please tell the children to be careful if you go to the park.’
The rules and Aunt Amelia’s interpretation of them form the heart of the story. The list of instructions make up the text whilst the illustrations show Aunt Amelia’s anarchic response to them as she encourages the children to experiment , explore make a mess and be creative. Aunt Amelia even turns tidying up a fun game!
In a classroom context you could read the rules out without showing the children the illustrations asking them to describe what they think is happening before showing them what Aunt Amelia and the children get up to.
This is a joyful story about the importance of sometimes not playing by the rules. Definitely a must purchase for all those aunts out there.
And no-one seems to care or comment on the fact that Aunt Amelia is a crocodile!
ISBN 978 1-4472-4236-9
Macmillan Children’s Books
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