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Elephant Pants - Smriti Prasadam-Halls

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Author: Smriti Prasadam-Halls / 32 pages / Publisher: Orchard / Released: 3 May 2012

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      07.10.2012 16:13
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      An entertaining and funny picture book

      Life is always peaceful on Noah's ark with all of the different animals getting on well together. That is until the day when Major Trump's underwear goes missing and Noah has to declare an ark-alert! He sets about trying to find the missing pants and to discover the culprit behind the disappearance. Will he be successful though and will Major Trump be able to recover his underpants and his dignity? This lovely rhyming tale with its colourful illustrations is bound to bring a smile to the faces of young readers and their parents and is likely to become a much loved favourite.

      ''"Oh, fiddle-dee fickers,
      Where, oh where, oh
      WHERE are my knickers?"''

      This is the plaintive cry from Major Trump that sets the tone at the start of this wonderfully entertaining story and sends Noah and all the animals on the ark into a flap. Major Trump asks Noah to help locate the missing undies which are a fetching red pair with white hearts that match his wife's. Noah calls an ark alert and gathers all the other animals round in order to line up and display the pants that they are wearing. What then follows is a comical parade of animal pairs showing of their weird and wonderful underwear. There are hippos brandishing stars and stripes pants, flamingos with frilly knickers, tigers in super-strength drawers and horses wearing ones that are organic, recycled and handmade. I have only mentioned a few of what is quite a sensational collection of varied underwear. Unfortunately, no one is wearing the missing undies but perhaps there is another explanation for where they might be!

      I have no doubt that small children are going to absolutely love the humour in this brilliant book. If they are like my daughters, the mere mention of knickers or undies will set them off. That, alongside the hilarious illustrations of all those creatures in their bright and revealing underclothes will make the giggles come thick and fast. It's a lovely story too and you can't help feeling sorry for poor old Major Trump who is so upset about being the only creature without underpants especially as he's starting to freeze. My youngest daughter was very concerned and even suggested that we lent him a pair of her daddy's. It really is a hugely entertaining book that is a delight to read.

      Not only is the story highly amusing and the illustrations so vivid, but the way it is written is exquisite. The entire story is written in rhyme which is always a winner with little ones as it provides a rhythm to the story telling and they can often join in by supplying the rhyming words. Best of all though are the wonderful descriptions that are present throughout. There are so many perfectly chosen adjectives that also are examples of onomatopoeias and alliteration. Here's just one example although I could have chosen many:

      ''On through the day went the underpants parade,
      Till every animal on board had displayed.
      Spotty and stripy and sporty and suede,
      Itchy and scratchy and fussy and frayed.''

      The language used is excellent and provides such good models for children's own writing too. Added to that is the entertaining way the text is interspersed with the illustrations. Some words are in capitals or bold font, and others are simply bigger - all to indicate the words that you want to emphasise when reading. It's definitely a wonderful book to share and to read out loud; not once, but many times.

      This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk

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