My daughter and I have just read 'Lulu and the Flying Babies' by Posy Simmonds and she now informs me that this book is one of her all time favourites and we just have to read it again and again! Well, that's definitely a very good recommendation from a four and a half year old - isn't it? We hadn't read anything by Posy Simmonds before but as we both enjoyed this book so much I shall definitely look out for more by her!
I'll just give a very brief outline of the story. The central character is Lulu - a little girl of about four years. At the beginning she is very cross because she just wants to get going and get to the park but it is taking far too long to get her baby brother ready. She is also cross on the way to the park becasuse everyone stops them in order to admire baby Willy. And then she is very cross at the park as Dad won't let her play in the snow and they have to go and visit the dreary old museum instead!
Finally Dad leaves her sulking on a bench and he goes off with Willy to look at the dinosaurs. Lulu is sitting there sniffing, and very rudely she wipes her nose on her sleeve. All of a sudden she hears a voice telling her off and there are two flying babies. These have come alive from a picture and a statue in the museum! When Lulu tells them why she is cross they take her on a wonderful adventure that takes place in all the different pictures hanging on the walls! They roll in the snow, splash in the sea, eat apples and grapes before finally ending up in a deep dark forest. This is a bit scary though and at this point Lulu decides that she does actually want her Daddy! She finds him and at the end we see him humouring her as she tells him what has happened! And as for the flying babies - we see them being tken back to their respective 'homes' by the museum curator who is also humouring them as he listens to their tales!
This is quite an unusual story because it is set out like a cartoon strip so the story is mainly told through speech and there are many pictures on each page. My daughter really likes this feature and enjoyed following the story in all the different pictures. All of the illustrations are very good and they remind me of the illustrations that you see in 'The Snowman' by Raymond Briggs. Just like those pictures, these too have a quaint simplicity and an almost dream like quality.
The reason why I like this book so much is that the character of Lulu reminds me so much of my youngest daughter Natalie. Natalie gets cross about things just like Lulu, and I can almost hear her saying some of the things that Lulu come out with especially as a lot of these utterances start with 'DON'T want to...!' I do think that Posy Simmonds has got the voice and tone of both the parent and the child exactly spot on. I'm sure this book would have most parents wryly grinning as it reminds them of some altercation that they have had with their child!
I do also like the book, as does my daughter, because it is such a delightful and whimsical tale. The idea of the cherubs coming to life and them all playing in all the pictures is absolutely lovely! And it has a nice rounded ending as well.
So all in all we do thoroughly recommend this book. It is published by Puffin and at the moment it cn be bought on Amzon for as little as 32 pence through the new and used section! It's definitely a good buy and a fun read.