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Most children are very capable of squabbling about almost anything and, so it seems, are hippos and birds. In this charming book, this extremely unlikely pair continually argue about what each should wear to Bird-Hippo FairyTale Fancy Dress party but they do both agree on one thing - neither wants to be a pea! Will they ever be able to resolve the argument?
Hugo is a hippo and Bella is a bird and they belong to each other because all hippos have birds and all birds have hippos. They are all set for a very special night as they get ready to attend the very exciting Bird-Hippo Fairytale Fancy Dress Party but first they need to decide on what costumes they will wear in order to go as a pair. Hugo's first suggestion is that they should go as the princess and the pea but Bella does not want to be a pea because it is too small and green. She suggests that they go as a mermaid and her rock, but this time Hugo objects to being the rock as it is too grey and blobby. They continue in this way making and rejecting suggestions until it looks as if they have reached a stand-off with neither willing to give in. This situation makes both Bella and Hugo miserable though so at last they agree to a rather surprising and ingenious solution and end up having great fun at the party after all.
I read this book with my daughters and we all found it highly entertaining and amusing. It is written in a clever way that takes the form of an argument between the two characters. I couldn't resist telling my daughters that it reminded me of them when they were squabbling too! I am sure that most parents will recognise at least a little of their children in the story as the author, Ann Bonwill, has imitated the way children squabble perfectly. It is easy to tell who is speaking as each speech is accompanied by a wonderful illustration that shows perfectly what either Bella or Hugo is thinking. Also the font changes depending on which character is speaking. It is a fabulous book for reading aloud and having fun varying one's voice depending on whether Bella or Hugo is speaking. Alternately, it is great for sharing the reading with your child, with each reading a different character's responses.
Simon Rickerty's simple but very funny illustrations might suggest that this book would be most suitable for very young children. However, don't be deceived, as I am sure that older children will really love the humour in this book. I think that it is a useful book too and could provide a talking point about how to resolve arguments and how often both sides have to compromise which is ultimately what happens in the book.
'I don't want to be a pea!' is a brilliantly funny book to share with children and both my daughters really recommend it.
I Don't Want to be a Pea! is currently available on Amazon in hardback for £6.15.
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk