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Book reviews

Curl up with your child and delve into a picture book...

Tyrannosaurus Drip

By Julia Donaldson and David Roberts, Dhs40.
Another great story from the master of rhyming couplets, Julia Donaldson’s hilarious yarn of Tyrannosaurus Drip will have parents and kids chuckling at bedtime. We meet our hero, a peace-loving Duckbill dinosaur with a penchant for ‘bellyfuls of juicy water reeds’ when he’s still a little egg. But life is never simple and he gets stolen by a small blue creature and ends up in the nest of his most feared enemy – a female Tyrannosaurus Rex. She, of course, likes nothing better than having a ‘bellyful of Duckbill dinosaur’. We then follow the amusing exploits of this strange cuckoo child whose unsuspecting meat-eating and psychotic ‘family’ re-name him Tyrannosaurus Drip. Extremely funny, this is definitely one to add to your Donaldson collection.
Grade: A+

My Fairy Funfair

By Maggie Bateson and Louise Comfort, Dhs98.
This initially seems pricey – but don’t judge a book by its cover. My Fairy Funfair tells the fairly uninspiring tale of Petal, Poppy and Rose at the funfair – but that’s only a tiny part of the picture. Once the story has been read, you can open up the second section of the book which turns into perhaps the most impressive, free-standing pop-up scene we’ve ever encountered. The magical fairground comes complete with a ferris wheel that really turns round, roller coaster, helter-skelter, puppet stalls and even a candy floss stand. There’s a whole page of pop-out fairies so that little ones can make up their own fantasy adventures (which will doubtless be more interesting than the one they’ve just read). When playtime’s over, just close the book and pop the little fairy friends back into their special pink basket.

Oliver Twist and Other Great Dickens Stories

By Marcia Williams, Dhs45.
Getting youngsters to appreciate the classics – especially in this day and age – is a challenge and a half. But Marcia Williams has done a sterling job in re-telling and illustrating A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield and Great Expectations, in this amusing comic book format. You might not approve of the dumbed-down vocab, but Dickens originally wrote his stories in serial format. So while spinning them out with lots of heavy description was in his best interest – it wasn’t necessarily gripping for the young readers. Williams’ take is captivating, amusing and allows little ones to grasp the essence of the stories without getting bored. And she doesn’t skip on the gory bits either.
Grade: B+

Puppy Love

By Gillian Shields and Elizabeth Harbour, Dhs45.
A modern day story of Lady and the Tramp, Puppy Love is the witty tale (geddit?) of Esme and Sam, two pooches who meet one day in Central Park, have an adventure and fall in love. But while pedigree poodle Esme ‘reposes on satin and lace’, Sam the stray mongrel ‘sleeps wherever there’s space’ and Mrs B Goldstein with her gold telephone (Esme’s penthouse-dwelling owner) who is less-than-impressed at her pet’s chosen mate, vows to keep them apart forever. Will Esme and Sam ever be together again? Beautifully illustrated, with plenty of New York City references, Sheilds’ and Harbour’s Puppy Love is definitely for keeps.
Grade: A

Man on the Moon

By Simon Bartram, Dhs40.
Meet Bob – the larger-than-life man on the moon whose special day job is actually far more normal than you or I could imagine. Every morning, Bob wakes up at 6am, has a cup of tea and two eggs for breakfast before he leaves the house for work. On the way, he pops into the shop for a newspaper before cycling up the hill to catch his rocket to work. The story is quite amusing; Bob has to clear up the space junk, eat lunch with the man from Mars and entertain the afternoon space tourists – all before 5pm. But, while the illustrations carry a lot of impact, one could also find them a bit nightmarish. You’ll either love them or hate them. But we think little boys with a fascination for all things spacey will most likely enjoy the whole package. Oh – and there’s no such thing as aliens... right?

Moon Maiden, Tales from Fairyland

By Jean and Ron Henry and Jake Jackson Dhs60.
With illustrations in the same style as the 1920’s Flower Fairies books (by Cicely Mary Barker) Moon Maiden is a traditionally styled fantasy story book. Good for little girls with a wide-reading vocabulary, the poetic snippets of life within the magical dells of the fairies are both imaginative and enchanting. But, if we’re totally honest, it’s the gorgeous illustrations that keep you interested – not the prose. The book has a dreamy quality about it, which is probably exactly what its creators were aiming for, and it also comes complete with a special sparkly mobile for princesses to hang up in their bedrooms. This is the kind of book you want to keep looking at, but only because it’s so pretty.

By Time Out Kids staff
Time Out Dubai,

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