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We bought this book for my son for Christmas and he loved it! He is four years old and started school in September, so he seems to be at just the right stage to really appreciate this book. It is about an old lady who keeps moaning her house is too small. A wise man advises her to take in her animals, one by one...
I really like the slightly repetative format and rhythm of this book - I thought it was perfect for children just starting to learn to read. It means that with the aid of the pictures, my son is able to read this book to me.
It is also lovely to read to him because he joins in frequently, eg, "My house is a squash and a squeeze!"
The pictures throughout are lovely and humourous, lighting up an already fantastic book!
Already this book has become a classic in our house, being read daily. We thought it was even better then 'The Gruffalo.'
A squash and a squeeze is a very enjoyable children's book by the popular author of the Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson, illustrations in this book are made by Axel Scheffler.
The book is a small hardback book with 25 pages in total, the animations are lovely, they have a real charm to them, there is a clear symmetry with the other Donaldson/Scheffler books in the style.
The hardback book means our little one can grab pages and do the usual in trying to rip them but with no risible effect, this means i'm happy to let little one (at 11 months old) grab the book and take a real part in reading it without fear of pages being ripped or swallowed. The book looks lovely, it is colourful, pages are rammed with lots of interesting visuals, the words are large and easy to read and it is visually a really lovely book.
This is available in all decent bookstores (Admittedly that doesn't leave too many nowadays), this was bought as a present for us, but on Amazon the book currently retails at £3.99, this is a reasonable price for a very enjoyable book which clearly has the longevity to be a family favourite for a good few years yet in our house.
The visuals work perfectly, Donaldson as always adds a simple story with a moral alongside lovely rhyming couplets, as the story develops its difficult not putting on silly voices for the women distressed at the lack of space in her home, or the wise, mysterious old man she goes to seeking a solution.
The story is enjoyable and the ending is a lovely way to finish, it teaches kids to be thankful for what they have and is a good moral compass in a society that doesn't always seem quite sure which way it is heading. The rhymes are fun and funny, the theme is repetition which allows reader and listener to become enthralled in it. The story is simple, clear, easy to follow and provides a satisfying ending which made my little one happy (i think) and made me want to read it many more times to reinforce the ideals within it.
A really good book by a popular and highly regarded childrens author. We have started reading it to our little one at a very young age, but anticipate this becoming a favourite, it has clear, quirky, colourful visuals, a fun story which rhymes throughout and we as parents love the ending.
Sometimes simplicity is as good as it gets and this story is simple, concise and brilliant.
Our house is overrun with books. If it isn't my books taking the place up it is now my two young sons. I am bad enough at buying them a nice book every so often but their large family also buy them books at birthdays and Christmas. Half past six is story time in our house and one of our favourite authors is Julia Donaldson. Not only do my son's love her books but my fiancé and I enjoy reading them too. One of which is called a Squash and a squeeze and I particularly like it as we live in a small cottage so it makes me think of space in our tiny house!
Julia Donaldson has written a series of books aimed at the younger age in the market. She has teamed up with Axel Scheffler whose beautiful illustrations bring her words to life. Julia Donaldson is most famous for her book 'The Guffalo' which was followed on by 'The Guffalo's child'. But this story I am reviewing was first published in 1993 and was her first picture book with Scheffler, although my edition was published in 2003.
The front cover of the book is immediately eye catching to a young child it is colourful, bold and fun looking like all of their books they have done together. There is something about the books Donaldson and Scheffler have done together you can immediately tell its one of theirs. There is an old lady stood in a field with a cow, a goat, a pig and a chicken. The illustrations are nice and bold with enough detail whilst staying away from being too complicated which Axel Scheffler has managed throughout the book as well. The back cover is off the wise old man sat on a rock who is an important character in the story.
The book is a total of twenty four pages long. Each page consists of nice bold text and fantastic illustrations which can nearly tell the story itself. The book measures roughly 22cms by 27cms which is a great size to hold up whilst reading to your child and gives the illustrations more space, allowing them to stand out. My fiancé has been into my son's nursery with this book during their reading week and found it an easy book to hold up and read to the class for them all to see and enjoy.
The story follows an old lady who lives in a very small house. A wise old man comes across her grumbling about the size of her small house and the old lady asks for his help which he happily gives. He tells her to take in one of her animals which the lady does but decides that doesn't work. So again she asks for the help of the wise old man who tells her to take in another animal as well. As you can imagine the story follows a similar pattern for a while till all comes to a head and the wise old man gives his final piece of advice but does it work!
The story is very repetitive but that is why it works so well for an adult and a child together. The rhyming throughout the story makes it flow with ease when you are reading it. The story is simple yet wonderful and makes us all chuckle with humorous parts, especially the cow doing a jig on the kitchen table!
Everyone in our household loves the book and it is one which I am very happy to read over and over again. The repetitive nature of this book also makes it fun to read with my three and a half year old son. It gives him an opportunity to join in along the way. 'Wise old man, won't you help me please? My house is a squash and a squeeze'.
Because the book does rhyme and flows very well you do tend to get through it very quickly and there is a little disappointed on both my son's side they would love for it to go on longer. But I think this is why the book is so popular it is just the right length.
We have many laughs throughout looking at the illustrations of the naughty animals getting up to mischief in the old lady's house. We especially like the cow doing a jig on the kitchen table and the pig raiding the larder.
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler books are extremely popular with children aged two years and up so are widely available in high street stores and on the internet. There are always special offers popping up on these books but even at their recommended retail price of £6.99 I think they are a bargain. Amazon (Dec 2011) currently have it for sale at £4.12. I would highly recommend any of the Donaldson Scheffler books to children two year up to about six years.
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I first fell in love with the Julia Donaldson books when I was at the start of my teaching career. There was so much scope for using the Julia Donaldson books as the basis for language lessons; for those teachers who are a bit more adventurous, this particular book is great for doing philosophy lessons or 'circle time' in an infant classroom.
As with most of the Julia Donaldson books, the story is written in rhyme. The story is about a little old lady who thinks her house isn't big enough. She meets an old man who tells her to take her animals into her house; all sorts of funny antics ensue as the old lady tries to keep control of the animals. Once all of the animals are out, the old lady realises that her house is big enough! The moral of the story is, be happy with what you have in life. As always, Julia Donaldson manages to get this message across in a subtle manner which leaves young children thrilled and desperate to hear it again and again.
This book is suitable for children way before they are old enough to understand the moral of the story. I frequently read this to my five month old baby girl. She loves the brightly coloured illustrations. I also find that my baby has a distinct preference for rhyming stories; they are able to capture her attention for longer periods of time.
The illustrator of this book is Axel Sheffler; his illustrations are fabulous and will capture the attention of a child of any age! I particularly like the level of detail in his pictures.
I am currently completely in love with Donaldson/Scheffler books, and am working my way through the whole collection. I bought A Squash and a Squeeze about a year ago, when it was on BOGOF promotion at Waterstones. I bought this one and the Gruffalo, also by the same author.
The illustration on the cover makes it instantly recogniseable as a Donaldson/Scheffler book. I think it has something to do with the eyes of the characters! On the cover we see a bemused old lady with her animals, a cow, a goat, a pig and a hen. On the rear of the cover, we see a "Wise Old Man", whose kindly advice helps the old lady with her problem that there is not enough room in her house!
As with other books by this author, the story is in rhyme and has a bouncy rhythm to it. You can almost sing the words rather than read them. What I love about these books is the small details in the pictures that you don't notice the first time round. Also, I love the repetition in the text, in this case: "Wise old man, won't you help me please? My house is a squash and a squeeze." Because this phrase is repeated so often, I would defy anyone to read this book without their children having the urge to join in!
This is a fab book to read with kids, and will appeal to kids between the ages of 2 and 6. The beautiful pictures give you lots to talk about and the sing-song text gives lots of opportunity for audience participation. It is not a long or wordy book, and most of the pages are taken up with the large illustrations, so this is a really good book for helping young children with their reading skills.
In my opinion, everyone with kids should have at least one book by Donaldson and Scheffler in their collection, and although my first choice would be the Gruffalo, I would highly recommend this book too, which costs £5.99 for the paperback version, but as I have said, it is worth waiting for the special offers in Waterstones. Some books are good to borrow, others better to have in your personal collection. This is definitely a "keeper".
I am currently reading several picture books to my four month old, none of which she will probably remember as she's too young, but advice says to read to your child - so I am!
Like most of Julia Donaldson's books, this story is written in rhyme. It also has an element of repetitiveness which I believe adds to a child's enjoyment of a book, as it offers the opportunity to be able to join in.
Not only does this book have an easy to read aloud rhyme, but it is also a clever tale of how we should be grateful for what we have...
It starts with a little old lady complaining about how tiny her house is. So she asks a wize old man for his advice as to how to make it less of a 'squash and a squeeze'. He advises moving several animals in with her and then after she continues to complain he tells her to move them all out. In the end the little old lady realizes that her house is not small at all once the animals are gone and she can appreciate the space she is left with.
Axel Scheffler's illustrations are a wonderful accompaniment to the poem. They are bright and bold and hold my 4 month olds attention long enough for me to read the thirty or so words on the page. They are also detailed and humorous enough to capture the attention of an older child.
Overall this is a wonderful addition to any child's library.
This was the first Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler book I ever bought. It is about an old lady who thinks her house is too small for her until she seeks help from a wise old man who encourages her to bring all her animals indoors to make her appreciate all the space when they were all removed again. It is written in fun rhyming text.
I bought this for my son just before he turned three and it has become a firm favourite. The fun rhyming text makes him laugh out loud, particularly "The goat chewed the curtains and trod on the egg, then sat down to nibble a table leg" and the bit where the cow does a jig on the table. The pictures are equally entertaining and my son will happily sit and study the book on his own and chat about what is going on in the nice clear pictures. There is nothing crude or scary about this book. It is simply a fun tale that teaches the child to appreciate what he or she has. My son loves this book, and if your child appreciates animals doing mad things, then yours will too.
In the well-populated market of children's books, perhaps one of the most instantly recognisable styles of illustration belongs to Axel Scheffler, who, in conjunction with Julia Donaldson penned the magnificent "The Gruffalo", now considered by many to be a modern classic.
German-born Scheffler has illustrated books for several other writers, but none of his work has been quite as popular as his many collaborations with Donaldson. The pair have produced a number of books which continue to grace the shelves of children's reading libraries, not just in the UK, but around the world.
Although "The Gruffalo" (1999) and "The Gruffalo's Child" (2004) remain their most famous joint efforts, they also worked together on (amongst many others) "Room on the Broom" (2002); "The Smartest Giant In Town" (2002); "The Snail & The Whale" (2003) and more recently "Tiddler" (2007); "Stick Man (2008)" and her latest "Taby McTat" (2009) - each of which have proved very popular in their own right.
However, it all started in 1993, when Donaldson was writing songs for children's TV programmes, and one of them - "A Squash and a Squeeze" - was published as a children's book. It would be a long six year gap before she hit the big time with "The Gruffalo", but the foundations of the fruitful Donaldson/Scheffler partnership had its genesis in this unassuming book.
Given the popularity of the team behind it, unsurprisingly, "A Squash and A Squeeze" is available in a wide variety of formats - including softcover, hardcover, board book and as an audio download. All of these are widely available from the usual e-tailers and bookshops. I would recommend the board book for younger readers, as it is the most robust.
Our softcover copy - the subject of this review - was bought on-line from Amazon, where at the time of writing (02/2010) it was available for £2.98 (less than half the £5.99 RRP) - along with several other of Donaldson's classics. It is published by Macmillan Children's Books (ISBN 1-405-00477-0) and runs to around 25 pages, measuring slightly shorter than a page of A4 paper.
A little old lady is living by herself in a sparsely furnished house, yet she grumbles and grouses that she doesn't have enough room. A wise old man hears her complaining and moaning and, when she asks him for advice, he devises a novel way to teach the old woman the value of what she has.
He encourages her to bring her livestock into the house, one by one - first her hen, then her goat, followed by the pig and then finally, her cow - and merry mayhem ensues. When she reaches the end of her tether, the wise old man tells her to turf all the animals out. Once they have all left, she realises her house is not quite so small as she thought it was.
The story is told in the form of an imaginative and amusing rhyme, making it easy to see how this book began life as a children's song. It has a wonderful cadence to it which makes reading it such a pleasure for kids and adults (reading to kids) alike. After each animal is introduced, and the house gets more and more crowded, the old lady repeats the refrain "Wise old man won't you help me please - my house is squash and a squeeze!". Kids soon catch on to this, and I find my daughter jumping in to say the phrase before I have a chance to.
The story is superbly illustrated by the cartoon-like characters brilliantly brought to life by Axel Scheffler in bold, bright colours. He has a penchant for drawing amusing scenes, and despite the simplicity of his illustrations, he manages to convey emotion through facial expressions quite well. The animals are given human characteristics (ex. the goat crossing his arms, or the pig on its hindquarters rifling through the larder) which give them a real depth of character.
The most obvious learning point is the moral of the story - that we often take what we have for granted. That's a valuable lesson for any child, especially in a materialistic world where they are bombarded by advertising left right and centre, and can be convinced that life will be a misery without the latest Moxie Doll, Ben 10 accessory or football shirt. The story provides a very good framework for introducing the concept of appreciating what you have in a fun and imaginative way.
The book is written in simple language (although one or two words may initially sound alien or be hard to read for young children, such as "implore", "grouse", and "gigantic") and in an easy to read font, with the illustrations often playing out the scene described. This makes it an ideal resource for stretching vocabulary and reading skills. Throw in the ascending number of animals which also provide an opportunity for developing counting skills, and you have a great all-rounder.
Ever since we started reading this to our daughter two years ago (she's now five) it has been a firm favourite. Despite the rigours of sharing a room with a pre-schooler, our copy has survived remarkably intact - the covers are a bit creased and dog-eared, but otherwise in pretty good nick. As such, it's a well put-together book in more ways than one - and a fine addition to any kid's library - especially given the exceptional value it offers.
© Hishyeness 2010
I bought this book for my daughter on the back of the highly successful and much loved books 'The Gruffallo' and 'Room on the Broom' - and am sorry to say that i was mildly disappointed.
True - it does have a good moral tale to tell (the old lady complains that her house is too small - a wise old man advises her to take in all of her animals one by one. When they finally vacate - her house feels huge!) but unfortunately the moral tale tends to swallow up any of the fun that ive found in Donaldsons other narratives.
The rhyming is methodical and precise - but i found the story uninteresting. On the other hand - Scheffler doesnt fail to delight with his beautiful illustrations.
Unfortunately, my daughter had a similiar view. Whilst she has read it (and requested it for further bedtime stories) it isnt quite as popular a choice as i hoped it would be.
If your about to buy this - id recommend Room on the Broom, the Gruffalo or Princess and the Wizard first... they are true representations of Donaldsons potential and stories that will undoubtedly delight!
My daughter has become a fan of most of the Julia Donaldson books ever since discovering The Gruffalo last year. I have to admit, they are a favourite with the grownups in the house as well, so on each visit to the library we always have a good look to see if there are any we haven't read available for hire.
Recently we came across A Squash and a Squeeze, and quickly added it to our pile. First impressions of the front cover made the book look crammed with story, and full of pictures which always appeals to a two year old.
The book tells the story of an old lady who think her house is too small. She seeks the advice of a wise old man who tells her to bring her animals into the house. As she does this with each different animal, she finds a whole new set of problems in her house. The animals are making her house even smaller. This goes on until she has a cow, horse, chickens, and goat etc all in her house making a mess, eating her furniture. The old lady despairs until the wise old man tells her to shoo all the animals out of her house again. This makes the house feel huge to the old lady and she realises her house has loads of space and she'll never moan about it being cramped again.
I decided after the first time of reading that this book wasn't going to portray any messages to my daughter about being tidy; it was just designed to be fun for the reader, and perhaps make the adults take stock and be thankful for what they have instead of moaning about lack of space.
Told in rhyme as all of Julia Donaldson books are, this book can be quite repetitive as each animal enters the house. My daughter thought this was amusing and loved the rhyme being repeated over and over until all the animals left the house. Personally I felt the story centred on the same point rather than elaborating on the story, which I feel would have made it slightly more interesting. It reminded me a lot about the story called "There was an old woman who swallowed a fly", where the story follows a process before repeating itself to get the same process at the end.
I think I would have appreciated this book a lot more as a child than an adult, so I won't criticise it too much as it is designed for children. Just from an adult's perspective reading it, it can get a bit tiresome compared to other books by Donaldson.
The illustrations as usual were great, bright and bold with plenty of inner story for you to concentrate on and make up little stories of your own. Being a tale of animals it's a great book to encourage stories about farm yards and animal noises etc, which is something we always do when reading to our daughter.
Overall I felt this wasn't one of Donaldson's best, but was happy enough to borrow it from the library. If you choose to purchase this then Amazon has it priced at £2.98.
An old tale with the fun of Julia Donaldson's rhymes and the appeal of Axel Scheffler's illustrations.
This award-winning pair have come up trumps with another wonderful book. A little old lady is grumbling because her house is "a squash and a squeeze." She asks a wise old man to help her and he advises first to take in her hen, then her goat, her pig and finally her cow. The house gets trashed and the antics of the animals are highly entertaining. Finally of course he tells her to take them out again and she realises that her house is perfectly big after all.
The images throughout the story, both in verse and illustration are fantastic and will be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
"Well the cow took one look and charged straight at the pig,
Then jumped on the table and tapped out a jig."
Every second page there are a few repeated lines which children quickly learn and love shouting out. In my daughter's case: "My house is a dos and a deeze"
This is a great book for young children. Learning the rhymes is great for their language and there are plenty of opportunities for fun discussion about the antics of the animals and the poor old woman trying to cope.
Highly recommended for ages 2 - 6. A fun book you'll enjoy reading to them.
"Wise old man, won't you help me please? my house is a squash and a squeeze"
Written by the author of the much loved children's story 'The Gruffalo', Julia Donaldson's 'A Squash and a Squeeze' is an A4 sized book which has a recommended retail price of £5.99.
The story focuses on a little old lady who lives on her own, and is upset as her house is a bit small (hence "a Squash and a Squeeze"). After taking the advice of a wise old man, the lady takes in a hen, shortly followed by a goat, a pig, and then a cow. Of course, this doesn't do much for the living space - but when she puts the animals back out again, her home seems massive! I suppose the moral is to appreciate what you've got - although this message will probably be lost on young kids.
The story is told in rhyme, which makes it very accessible to children - in fact, it just happens to be my three-year-old nephew's favourite book at the moment. He loves joining in with the last part of each rhyme by saying "a squash and a squeeze", which is quite cute.
The story features a few words used which children may not be familiar with, and some of the phrases featured in the book e.g "fiddle-de-dee" may be a little outdated. This isn't a real criticism on my part though, and will no doubt help to expand vocabulary in the long run.
The text is nice and large, and is set in a pleasing looking typeface which makes reading it a pleasure. Axel Scheffler's illustrations are beautiful drawn - nice and colourful without being garish. Each page features at least two large pictures, meaning that smaller kids always have something to look at whilst going through the book, which is helpful for those with a short attention span.
Overall, A Squash and a Squeeze is a decent children's book, and whilst not as exciting (or frightening) as The Gruffalo, kids seem to enjoy it, and that's all that matters.
I wonder just how many of us think that we live in a house that is far too small for us?
Well Julia Donaldson has written this little tale that teaches us to be very grateful for the space that we have.
`A squash and a Squeeze` is a comical little tale that keeps you guessing right until the end.
In this story there are only two main characters, one is a little old lady who lives all by herself and the other is a Wise Old Man.
Granny looks quite outdated compared to many Grannies that I know today, she has grey hair that is tied back into a bun and she wears a roomy pinny. The Wise Old Man has a long grey beard, a large black hat sits on his head and he wears a full length black coat. He carries a stick and Axel Scheffler has managed to make him look very sagacious.
Granny's house is just how you may imagine it to be, a scrubbed wooden floor. A table complete with chequered tablecloth and teapot and a nice large fireplace. It looks exactly how a Granny's house should look like.
But Granny is feeling frustrated at the lack of space, she feels that her little home is far too small and she calls upon the Wise Old Man for help.
The Wise Old Man readily offers Granny some advice , although Granny goes along with the Wise Old Mans ideas she finds them rather unusual.
"Take in your Hen said the Wise Old Man"
" Take in my hen? What a curious plan."
The Wise Old Man doles out his advice and although Granny fails to grasp how this advice can help she follows it to the letter.
Her table leg is chewed and the contents of her larder are eaten. Granny's front room curtains are chewed to pieces and her blue and white china jug is smashed to smithereens.
Axel Schleffer has illustrated this book well and his drawings are quite comical. At one point Granny finds herself in a real spin, her pig, her goat and her chicken are all sat around the table and the large black and white cow is sitting in the middle of the table dancing around the teacups and cake plate !
By that time Granny is in total despair, her tiny house is chock a block with unruly animals and once again she turns to the Wise Old Man and asks for help.
His answer is simple - Take them all out !
Granny is then seen herding all of the animals out and she soon discovers that the advice given by the Wise Old Man was indeed very wise.
Granny adopts many different faces throughout the book, she is perplexed, annoyed, surprised, shocked and gleeful. The Wise Old Man remains looking wise all the way through the book.
The animals laugh and gloat, they cackle and giggle and their faces are very comical.
The illustrations are colourful though maybe not quite as colourful as some of Julia Donaldson's other books but I love Granny's blue spotty dress and her multi-coloured patchwork bedcover.
As the story comes to an end Granny has work to do, the animals have left plenty of mess behind them and she soon sets to work and puts the place straight.
When Granny first started to ask the Wise Old Man for his advice she found it very hard to understand how it was going to work but Julia Donaldson has given the storyline a great deal of meaning and that is admirable.
At the end of the book Granny is full of frolics and fiddle- de -dees ! Her house isn't a squash and it isn't a squeeze.
A very good bedtime story that is published by Macmillan books and is priced at £5.99p.
Suitable for two to six year olds.
A newish reviewer sits all by herself,
In a room with a computer, and not much else.
Words spew out as she taps the keys
As she reviews 'A squash and a squeeze'
Writing rhymes isn't as easy as you first think(as you can see from my attempt above), this is why my greatest admiration goes out to Julia Donaldson and Axcel Scheffler who continue to produce brilliant rhyming picture books for children that are funny, thought provoking, and colourfully illustrated. A Squash and a Squeeze was initially written by Julia as a song for Children's TV, but in 1993 it was made into her first picture book, with Axcel Scheffler providing the illustrations.
The story is about an old lady who is dissatisfied about the size of her home and asks a wise old man for help. His words of wisdom are somewhat unconventional, as he first advises her to bring in her hen. Then, when she still complains her house is too small, he goes on to tell her to bring in her goat, her pig, and finally her cow. As you would expect this leads to chaos, and when the little old lady makes her final plea for help, the wise old man suggests she removes all the unruly animals. This solution brings peace to the situation, and the old lady realises that her house wasn't too small after all.
My children (who are four and five) love this story. They find the antics of the animals hilarious (who wouldn't find the image of a pig dancing on a table funny?). They also join in with parts of the story, especially the old lady's exclamation, "My house is a squash and a squeeze". I think it is a great opportunity for them to savour the language and begin to memorize text.
Morally, I think, it is a good way of explaining to children that complaining about your situation can stop you appreciating what you have.
This is my review for a Squash and a Squeeze
A Squash and a squeeze is another book by Julia Donaldson, and another of my daughter's bedtime favourites.
I bought the board book version as I do with most of her books as I feel these last longer and she can be a bit rough with them without damaging them. I like a book that I know will last and last and the board books certainly do even if the corners are a bit battered from the occasion chew.
The story is about an old lady who live in her little house which she thinks is too small so she calls on a wise old man to help her out.
The wise old man a funny looking character with a long white beard encourages her to take in all of her farm yard animals to make her realise that her house is bigger than she thought.
The book as with all of Julia Donaldson creations is in her lovely rhyming style which is a pleasure to read and hear and flows really nicely. Because a lot of it is repetitive my daughter normally catches on quite quickly and is reading along within a couple of reads which is lovely.
The book is funny and Axel Schefler brings the story to life with his funny illustrations
A lovely book which teaches a good lesson in being happy with what you have!
A little old lady thinks her house is a squash and a squeeze but, with the advice of a wise old man and the help of a few farmyard animals, she soon discovers that it's not as small as she thought. The very first book from the award-winning creators of The Gruffalo, first reissued in hardback to great acclaim in 2003 as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of Julia and Axel's collaboration.