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I'm a great Shirley Hughes fan. When I was a kid, I really liked Dogger. My mum read it to me, and I also read it to my son on occasion. There is something lovely and magical about the way she writes, and how the illustrations make you feel all fmaily orientated and how nothing else in the world matters.
The Alfie series of books features little Alfie and the various things he and his family get up to. This particular tale tells of an evening where mum and dad go out, leaving Alfie and his baby sister Annie Rose in the care of Maureen MacNally, the babysitter. However, when Alfie hears a drip-drip! drip-drip! drip-drip! it can only spell a leaky pipe and a bit of a problem.
The story itself is quite nice. It's not the greatest from Hughes, and seems rather strange, but it ends nicely and features some ncie interaction between Alfie and the grownups involved. Maureen has to go and get her mum and dad to help with the leak, which proves to be a burst pipe, and it's nice to see how Mr and Mrs NacNally are in the story. They blend in nicely, despite it being someone else's house, and it gives you a feeling of warmth, and trust in your neighbours.
The illustrations are really involving. The contours are soft and the colours are nice and gentle, although distinctive at the same time. I like the style she has with this element of the book, and it makes the story all the more gentler as well. It really is appealing.
The owrding isn't too tricky either, which makes this ideal to read to your kid, or to have them practice as a reading book for them as well. My 5 year old and I alternated pages when reading, and he didn't struggle with it. There are a couple of longer words, but it's not too strenuous on the punctutation side of things and the story itself is easy to follow. I would say it's quite a good book to read to your toddler or for a kid to have when they want something to read on their own. The illustrations help keep the interest levels high as well.
Overall, a lovely book. The story isn't the best from Hughes that I have seen, but the whole presentation is lovely, the illustrations and the words blending nicely. It's a warming tale, and one that is lovely for adults and kids alike. You can currently get it for a mere £1.99 from amazon.co.uk, which I think is a really good bargain.
An Evening at Alfies is another story in the well loved Alfie series written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes. These stories all feature the preschool Alfie and his little sister Annie Rose, and tell gentle stories of family life. The Alfie stories were originally written in the early 1980s, but they have stood the test of time well and still captivate young children.
In An Evening at Alfies, mum and dad head out for the night, leaving Alfie and Annie Rose at home with the babysitter, Maureen. Annie Rose is soon fast asleep whilst Alfie enjoys a story with Maureen before heading to bed himself. As Alfie lies in bed however, he hears a strange noise on the landing. Investigating, Alfie discovers a puddle on the landing, and a drip-drip-drip-drip splashing from the ceiling above! Alfie runs to get Maureen, but by this time the drip-drip-drip has turned into a splash-splash-splash. Maureen calls on her mum and dad, Mr and Mrs MacNally for help, then to make matters worse, Annie Rose wakes up crying, adding to the chaos. For poor Maureen, a quiet night in front of the television doing her homework turns into quite an evening!
My sons, aged three, love this story. Alfie is a lovable character to whom the under fives can relate. As with all of the Shirley Hughes stories it is a beautifully written, gentle story, enhanced by wonderfuly detailed illustrations. It is a lovely one for parents to read, and just the right length for a bed time story. I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone with preschool aged children.
An Evening at Alfies is published by Red Fox and is available for the bargain price of £3.87 on Amazon.
This book tells the story of Alfie, a delightful 4 year old, and what happens one evening while his parents are out. The story is simple and yet involves babysitters, neighbours, Noah's Ark and burst pipes. Alfie has a little sister Annie Rose who also has a part to play. It is about everyday occurrences but is told with such charm and realism that any child cannot fail to be drawn into Alfie's world. Shirley Hughes write and paints pictures of the relationships between brother and sister and parents and neighbours with ease.
The illustrations are realistic and endearing and beautifully complement the story.
The book was first published in 1984 and yet the themes and characters of this book are still relevant to todays children, almost 25 years later.
This book is a timeless classic, suitable to be read to young children and also to be tackled by newly confident readers themselves.
The first time I was made aware of Shirley Hughes was when my teenage girls were small and her name was on the cover of one of their favourite books as the illustrator. That book was My Naughty Little Sister and I've lost count of the number of times that I had to read it at bedtime. The story was delightful but what my children loved the most were the illustrations.
Since then she has written as well as illustrated many books including the Lucy & Tom series, which are just as popular as the set of Alfie books available.
Alfie's mum and dad are going out for the evening and their neighbour Maureen is babysitting. After a bedtime story about Noah and the ark with all the animals in it, Alfie goes to bed in his room alongside his baby sister, Annie Rose, who is already asleep in her cot. He can't sleep though, and hears a strange drip, drip sound coming from the landing.
He thinks it's raining in the house but of course it's a burst pipe and they set about getting buckets and bowls to catch all the drips. The story continues as Alfie speculates that they may all have to float away in a boat like Noah's Ark.
The sketched illustrations aren't as bright and bold as in some storybooks but they do have lots of depth and texture to them. From the sleepy little Annie Rose to the cheeky smile of Alfie, they are to be greatly appreciated and admired as Shirley Hughes has captured the essence of childhood expressions perfectly.
I have been a fan of the Alfie books for many years and I must admit it was me who saw this in the library and lunged at it, as although it was first published in 1984, I had never actually seen this one before.
As will all the other books, the pleasure of the story is in the simplistic way it is told and you really get an idea of what Alfie is thinking and feeling. There is humour and adventure included too with the mad rush to try to find the mains water switch, whilst the delightfully mischievous Alfie has great fun splashing in the puddles and sailing his boat.
The illustrations are really what make this book, as they are all so lifelike and appealing. My favourite one though, is the one at the end where Alfie and Annie Rose are snuggled up together on the sofa, sleeping soundly and looking so angelic. This will remind any parent that even the most annoyingly naughty child can be so sweet whilst asleep.
I must admit I am a little bit sad at having to return this book as I think I've enjoyed it more than my son who now wants there to be rain in the house so he can splash about in puddles. This is one that I will have to buy in the future.
***Other Alfie Books***
Alfie Gets In First
Alfie Gives a Hand
Big Alfie And Annie Rose Storybook
Rhymes For Annie Rose
Annie Rose Is My Little Sister
Big Alfie Out Of Doors Storybook
All About Alfie
Alfie Wins a Prize
Alfie And The Birthday Surprise
***Price & Availability***
This paperback has the listed price of £4.99 but is available from Tesco for £3.74.
ISBN No. 0099256045
I decided to write another children’s book review. This is by one of my favourite children’s authors, Shirley Hughes. This book is called “An evening at Alfie’s”, but before I go into detail about it I will tell you about the author first. ~~ Shirley Hughes ~~ Shirley Hughes trained at Liverpool Arts School and Ruskin Arts School in Oxford. She began writing children’s stories when she had her own children. Her first book was published in 1960 and was called “Lucy & Tom’s Day”. Since then she has wrote over 200 books. My favourite books by this author have to be about Alfie & Annie Rose. These stories follow a young brother and sister in their daily lives, and gives an insight into the innocence of children’s minds. ~~ An Evening at Alfie’s ~~ It’s a cold winter’s evening and Alfie and Annie’s mum and dad were going out to a party. Mrs MacNally’s daughter Maureen was baby-sitting. Alfie and Maureen waved goodbye to them out of the living room window. Annie was already fast asleep in her cot. Alfie was fond of Maureen as she always took the time to read him stories. This night she read him the story of Noah’s Ark. This was one of his favourites as he liked to hear the noises made by the rain whilst lapping against the sides of the Ark. Once the story was finished Maureen put Alfie to bed; they had to creep upstairs so as not to wake up Annie. Alfie was not tired, he lay in bed gazing up at the ceiling and then after a while he heard a strange noise outside on the landing. The noise was familiar and when he looked outside he noticed that the drip drip sound was in fact a leaking roof. Poor old Maureen she was downstairs doing her homework. Alfie rushed down to tell her and they run off in search of buckets. Maureen decided that it was a burst pipe. Surprisingly Maureen wanted to be a plu
mber when she left school. Once the bucket was over the hole, water then seemed to pour out of other holes in the ceiling and the pair of them end up rushing around picking up any bowl and bucket that can be found around the house. Maureen had eventually had enough and rang her mother asking for help. She only lived across the street so came over immediately. Mrs MacNally ordered them to get some floor cloths as the floor was now soaking. To make matters even worse poor Annie Rose wakes up due to all the commotion going on in the landing. She cried even louder when Mrs MacNally peered over the cot at her. Meanwhile Alfie is in his element jumping in all the puddles whilst the other two are rapidly running around the place in an attempt to control the water. After some time Mrs MacNally suggests that the water needs to be turned off. Unfortunately the book is a bit disappointing at this point as they have to get Mr MacNally to come and do it. What happened to the independent women bit !! Mr MacNally’ uttered “What’s all this then”? No words are uttered by the two women I on the other hand would have shouted at him “Well what do you think has happened”. After a bit of time wasting he heads down stairs and eventually finds the tap. The water stops and they all look a little relived, unlike poor old Annie who is still crying her heart out in the cot. Alfie goes along to try and cheer her up; he puts his hand through the bars of her cot and pats her. Poor Annie Rose she had a wet nappy and wet cot. So they dry her off and bring her downstairs and settle her down with a quilt on the sofa. They then have a biscuit each. Alfie and Annie are really contented and it’s not long before the shattered little pair fall happily asleep. THE END The pictures in this book are detailed as if drawn in rough pencil and coloured in. The style makes the books have an old fashione
d look to them, but still seems to appeal to young children. Luke my four year old son, loves the Alfie and Annie Rose stories as they are based around daily activities or events that happen in young children’s lives and he regularly says “that is like me and Charlotte”.