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~ About the Books ~
The Happy Families books are written by Allan Ahlberg and are inspired by the traditional Happy Families card game. The books are published by Puffin Books and a number of illustrators have worked on the books along with Allan Ahlberg. The books first launched in 1980 and have become popular selling in excess of 2.6 million copies since they were first launched. The books are a cross between picture and chapter books. There are a total number of 21 different books to collect in this series, each one about a different character and their life. The books are paper back and are brightly coloured with the characters on the front of the book along with their name. I remember reading a few of these books when I was a child and I used to really enjoy them. I had a few favourite books in this series which included Miss Dose the Doctors Daughter and Mrs Wobble the Waitress. We started collecting these books for my nephew over a year ago as he loves reading and he enjoys reading this series of books. We have now managed to collect all the titles in this series and also have some doubles of them which we will take to our local charity shop.
~ Price/Availability ~
We purchased most of our books from Charity shops for about 80p, how-ever these are available to buy online. The book I am reviewing can be purchased from amazon for approximately £1.50. Most of the books in this series are the same price; how-ever you may find them cheaper or someone selling them as a set on eBay. It's also worth looking in charity shops to see if they have them in there as well.
~ The Book ~
The book is tall and quite thin as it's a paperback book. On the front is a picture of the character that the book is about, in this case it has a picture of 2 people sitting on top of a horse. The name of the character is in blue across the book and it states that the book is part of the Happy Families series. On the back of the book is a list of the other books that are available in the series. On the back of the book I am reviewing it only shows 16 books, how-ever I know there are more than this is the series. The pages to the book are quite thick and are slightly glossy; how-ever they are easy for little fingers to grip. The writing in the book is of a good size so my nephew of 5 years old can read the book quite easily. There are bright, colourful picture throughout the book to go with the writing as the story is told. The pictures are quite detailed and my nephew loves looking and them an often finds a few of them funny.
~ The Character/Story ~
The story is about Mr & Mrs Hay the horse who work in a circus. One of them is the front end of the horse and the other is the back end. They met in the circus and married which is when they decide they would become a horse circus act together. They had 2 children whom were embarrassed by their parents so they tried to be like normal parents and hid the horse outfit. One evening at a school concert the show had to be cancelled because the performers didn't turn up. Everyone sighed and was unhappy but then Mr & Mrs Hay had an idea. They came galloping onto the stage and all the children started to laugh and cheer at their show. All the children soon wished that they had parents like Mr & Mrs Hay and the children became popular with the other children at school.
My nephew likes this story and thinks it's funny that Mr & Mrs Hay dress up as a horse to perform in the circus. My nephew loves pointing out the different pictures and telling me about them and what the characters are doing in the pictures. As the pictures are bright and colourful and clear you can see clearly what the characters are doing and what the pictures represent. As well as this book my nephew always enjoys reading the other books in this series.
(review may also appear on ciao)
Mr and Mrs Hay the Horse is a book from the Happy Families collection. The cover is a light orange colour and there is a picture of 2 children sitting on top of a pantomime horse. The title is above this in blue lettering and above the title is the happy Families logo in orange rectangles. The back cover of the book is also light orange and has some small pictures showing other titles available in the collection.
As you have probably gathered from the title of the book, Mr and Mrs Hay are a horse. Mr Hay is the front end and Mrs Hay is the back end, they work in the circle and on the stage. They have not always been a horse, Mrs Hay used to be a tree and Mr Hay used to be a chicken, but when they got married they bought a horse costume.
As the years went by they had 2 children, a boy named Henry and a girl named Henrietta, when they were little they used to sit and go for a ride on their parents dressed as a horse and as they had fun and laughed they would tell everyone that their mom and dad was a horse. But as the children grew older they started to feel embarrassed about their Mom and Dad being this horse.
Would the children finally be happy their parents are the horse or will Mr and Mrs Hay find another, less embarrassing job for their children?
This book is very fun and easy to read. The book has been written in nice simple words which do repeat throughout the book which makes it easy for new readers to read independently. My 6 year old is finding this one very easy to read and is enjoying doing so. He spend ages sitting reading to his younger brother.
The pictures help to tell the story and they are all nice and bright. I have found that the pictures help to keep my 4 year old involved in the book and not to want to go and do something else before the book is finished.
The story is only short and only takes myself a few minutes to read but for a new reader it would probably take them about 10 minutes, especially if they stop to look at all the pictures. I have found this makes a great bedtime story.
The book has been written by Allan and Janet Ahlberg and is illustrated by Colin McNaughton. The book was published by Penguin Books. There is no retail price on the back cover of the book but this is available to buy on both EBay and Amazon Market Place with prices starting at 1p. I managed to pick this title up for £1.25 which I feel is a great price.
Other titles available in the Happy Families collection include:-
Mr Biff the Boxer
Master Salt the Sailors Son
Mrs Plug the Plumber
Mr Cosmo the Conjuror
Mrs Wobble the Waitress.
I can highly recommend this book and all the titles in the Happy Families collection as they have been designed and written especially for new readers and are very enjoyable to read and share with your children.
Designed for use at home and in school, each book in this series introduces the learner reader to the adventures of a different family.