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Alfie Gives a Hand - Shirley Hughes

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4 Reviews

Author: Shirley Hughes / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 07 May 2009 / Genre: Picture Storybooks / Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers UK / Title: Alfie Gives a Hand / ISBN 13: 9781862307858 / ISBN 10: 1862307858 / Alternative EAN: 9780099256076

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    4 Reviews
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      24.10.2008 10:01
      Very helpful



      I would recommend this book to be read to pre-school children.

      This is another story written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes about four year old Alfie.

      In this episode Alfie has been invited to his best friend Bernard's birthday tea party. Alfie has lots of questions to ask about the party, but when he discovers that his Mum won't be there he becomes anxious and resorts to taking his bit of old blanket with him. Alfie has a good time at the party but his blanket gets in the way, eventually he gains confidence and also helps a little girl to enjoy the party too. Bernard gets a bit too excited at times and gets told off quite a lot.

      The story explores young children's anxieties and how different children behave in an ordinary everyday situation.

      The colourful, vivid and lifelike illustrations perfectly complement the story.

      Although this book was first published 25 years ago the themes covered in this story are still relevant to todays young children. Shirley Hughes delivers a realistic story with characters and situations that most pre-school children will experience.


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      02.05.2008 20:39
      Very helpful



      Alfie Gives A Hand Is A Nice Story With Detailed Illustrations .

      About The Author
      Shirley Hughes published her first book Lucy and Tom's Day in 1960. Since then she has illustrated over two hundred children's books and is known as a champion of children's literature. Shirley Hughes has been awarded the Kate Greenaway medal, the prestigious Eleanor Farjeon Award and in 1999 she was honoured with an OBE for her distinguished services to Children's literature.

      The Story
      Alfie is very excited, he has been invited to his best friends birthday party and he has never been to a party before. Mum tells him all about parties how you take a present, games he would play and all about the delicious party food.

      Alfie was a little nervous about the party especially when he realised Mum and Annie Rose (his baby Sister) would not be there. He decided to take his blanket and held on to it very tightly. When Alfie arrived at the party Bernard was in the garden with Min, Sam, Daniel and other children from nursery school.

      Bernard was very excited and was jumping about and pushing trying to pop the most bubbles, which his Mum was blowing. Bernard popped a large bubble that had landed on Min's sleeve and she began to cry. Bernard's Mum told him to say sorry. "Let's have tea now" she said. Min wanted to sit next to Alfie. They had sandwiches, sausages, crisps and jellies and a big birthday cake and they sang Happy Birthday to Bernard. Alfie still clung tightly to his blanket. Bernard blew his lemonade through his straw and made rude noises. He blew his jelly all over the place until Mum took it off him.

      After tea they played games. Bernard put a tiger mask on and made growling noises; Min was frightened and began to cry. Min clung on to Alfie. She cried and cried until Alfie was very brave and put his blanket down and held Mins hand. Min stopped crying and all the children played Ring-a-ring-O'-roses and other party games.

      Alfie was having such a good time he forgot all about his blanket until Mum and Annie Rose came to collect him. What a helpful guest you've been said Bernard's mum I do wish Bernard would be more helpful sometimes. Alfie decided next time he would leave his blanket at home.

      Personal Experience
      I bought this book for a little boy in my setting who has just been invited to his first party. I think Alfie gives a hand show's young children it's ok to be nervous about strange surroundings and new experiences and how they can gain in confidence and overcome this.
      I found Connor asked lots of questions which showed he was taking it all in:
      Why did Alfie need his Blanket?
      Why was Min crying?
      Why was Bernard Naughty?
      Why does Alfie not need his blanket anymore?

      I would recommend this book if your child is a little nervous about going to their first birthday party.

      The illustrations are very artistic and well drawn, all the children have cute cherubic faces and there is lots of fine detail in them. There are lots of thing's in the background you and the children can talk about. Alfie lends a hand is illustrated by Shirley Hughes.

      Other Books By Shirley Hughes
      A Brush With The Past
      Ella's Big Chance
      Alfie and The Birthday Surprise
      Alfie Wins A Prize
      Alfie's Feet
      Alfie Gets in First
      Annie Rose is My Little Sister
      Abel's Moon
      Alfie's Weather
      Lucy and Tom at the Seaside
      Up and Up
      Stories by Firelight

      £4.49 for the paperback version by Red Fox picture books at Amazon.


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        31.01.2006 02:07
        Very helpful



        Picture book for young children

        I haven’t seen this book for ages and read it for the first time the other day specifically because I was asked to.
        So, there I was reading it to a class of 5 and 6 year olds, and here I am saying that “no, it’s not my favourite book!”

        **The Story**

        The story begins with Alf finding a letter with his name on it. He is nursery age so that’s pretty good of him to point out to his mum that the letter is for him.
        Mum explains that it is an invitation to his friend, Bernard’s party, and Alfie starts to get excited.
        The day of the party arrives and Alfie is excited as mum baths him and talks about what happens at birthday parties. He puts on his new clothes and then reality hits him when he realizes that mum and Annie Rose aren’t going to the party with him. “But I want you to be there,” said Alfie.
        Alfie finds his old comfort blanket and waits downstairs for mum…what a sorry figure he cuts in the picture as he sits on lfie “But do you know what it did then?”
        Oh my goodness, he threw the crayons in the air and then got into trouble from his mum while Alfie stood looking sorrowful.
        They play with the bubbles and Bernard is in trouble for pushing, and is REALLY in trouble for bursting the big bubble which lands on Min.
        The story kind of goes on in this vein with nothing really happening.
        They have tea but Min will sit next to only Alfie.
        Bernard is a bit rude when he is eating his party tea.
        Alfie continues clutching his blanket
        After tea, Bernard wears a tiger mask and scares the other children.
        “Grrr! Grrr! Grrr! GRRRR! ACHT!”
        All the children are seriously terrified of this and Min starts to cry again.
        Poor Bernard is in trouble again and mum makes everyone get into a circle. Bernard continues to wear his TERRIFYING tiger mask and grabs hold of Alfie’s hand.
        However, Min wants to hold Alfie’s hand and “cried and cried”
        So, there is Alfie with Bernard holding one hand and that blanket in the other hand, and Min crying to hold his hand. What do you think he does? “…Alfie made a brave decision”.
        Yes folks…he finally puts down that blanket so he can hold Min’s and Bernard’s hands.
        They now have a fabulous day, playing games, and eating more food.
        When mum comes to collect Alfie, Bernard’s mum congratulates her on having such a helpful child and wishes that Bernard would learn to be helpful.
        On the way home, Alfie thinks he may leave his blanket at home next time.

        That’s the story in a nutshell, and believe me, there is very little else to tell because nothing much happens.


        I quite like the illustrations which are quite true to life line drawings in muted shades which actually look as though they would originally have been water colours.
        The sizes of the drawings varies depending on what is needed to emphasise the story.
        Some of the pictures are full page and some are double page spread; one example of this is the actual party when the children are eating and the text is just shown in text boxes.
        Sometimes, the pictures are very small, for example, when Alfie is sitting at the bottom of the stairs with his blanket, possibly to emphasise how small and insignificant he felt at that time.
        Drawings and writing are mixed and interspersed to good effect.


        My copy is published by Collins Picture Lions (1985), ISBN 0-00-662379-4
        The book was first published by The Bodley Head (1983).


        I am going to give the usual advise to have a look on Amazon- I should imagine there are a few of these books for sale.

        **Other Books by the same author**

        A Brush With The Past
        Ella’s Big Chance
        Alfie and The Birthday Surprise
        Alfie Gets in First
        Alfie Wins A Prize
        Alfie’s Feet
        Annie Rose is My Little Sister
        Abel’s Moon
        Alfie’s Weather
        The Charlie Moon Collectioncret
        Up and Up
        Stories by Firelight
        Sally’s Se

        Shirley Hughes write her first book, Lucy and Tom’s Day in 1960, and has
        been a prolific story writer.


        I read this recently and remembered reading it when I first started teaching, and it’s my opinion which has definitely changed, perhaps with the range of books now on offer.
        The story actually started to irritate me and I found myself wanting Alfie and Min to get some life!
        And how bad am I? I ask children all the “right” questions but in reality was hoping they wouldn’t give the answers they thought would please me, ie that Bernard is a naughty boy. In reality, he is a normal Nursery age child who was having fun at his own party, only to have his high spirits dampened by people crying and carrying blankets around the place.

        The illustrations are excellent and are almost like stage sets, complementing the text perfectly, although some of the clothes are a bit dated and children will notice this. hey, there's not a pair oftrainers in sight.

        There are alot of Alfie stories around and I don't have an intense dislike of all of them, and not of this one either; I just think that nowadays there are some excellent picture books, whether you want a story for the sake of a story or want a story with a message.

        i found that I was trying to make the story more exciting, and the children were certainly not particularly inspired.

        It's a story which will probably found in most Primary schools and I am sure people are going to tell me that they love it. I did read it later that day to my 4 year old, to get a bit more first hand experience, and although she loves story time she was not enamoured with this one. In fact, she was just a bit confused as to why Alfie wasn't enjoying the party at first, because to her, parties.

        There is probably a very strong case for this book if a child was having problems with parties and boisterous children, helping them to see that they can overcome their fears. i just think there are better books.

        So, to conclude, I think this is one book I will read when asked to and I don't think it will become a much clamoured for bedtime story.

        Thanks for reading

        Daniela x


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        • More +
          11.07.2000 16:51
          Very helpful



          This is another book about Alfie, this time he is invited to his friend Bernards birthday party. He is not very keen to go as he is a bit worried as his mum and little sister will not be there. He decides to go but only if he can take his security blanket. There is a little girl there, who is very frightened, he holds her hand and re-assures her. When it comes to the birthday tea, he sits next to the littls girl, the blanket gets covered in Jam, cake etc, he decides he no longer wants to keep his blanket. Bernard is rather boisterous he goes around with a tiger mask scaring everyone, but Alfie is well behaved and is glad he came after all. Good illustrations again another of my sons fav books


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      • Product Details

        Alfie is delighted to be invited to Bernard's birthday party, although he feels a bit nervous about going on his own. But Alfie has such a great time, he finds he doesn't even need his special blanket - and he makes a new friend too!

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