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Not Now, Bernard - David McKee

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: David McKee / Edition: New Ed / Hardcover / Reading Level: Ages 4-8 / 32 Pages / Book is published 2005-07-07 by Andersen Press Ltd

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    6 Reviews
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      27.02.2012 10:58
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      A great read

      My parents have just bought a new caravan and as such have been emptying the old one, this book was in my daughters belonging which were found in the process.

      ==Availability==

      I have not seen this book in a shop for a long time now which may be because it is such an old book first being published in 1980 it is even older than I am. I have found the book on Amazon and it currently sells at £1.50 which is a great discount as the RRP for the book is supposed to be £4.99.

      ==Book Information==

      The book is written by David mckee who is most well know for the Elmer range of books that he writes, David also illustrates the book and the book has been published by a few different companies over the last 30 years the most recent one being Red Fox. David Mckee was born in South Devon and had his first childrens book published in 1964, David provides the illustrations for the Supergran and Paddington Bear Books.

      ==The Cover==

      The front cover of the book has a red background which fades the further down the cover you go, I think this is a nice background and sets the cover up well. There is a large rock on the cover with a mean monster standing on top of it and a little boy which you find out to be Bernard stood next to it. The title of the book and the authors name is written in black so stands out well against the red.

      ==The Story==

      The story begins with Bernard the little boy saying hello to his Father, his Father is busy and so he is told "not now Bernard" he then approaches his Mother who is also busy and again he gets "not now bernard." Bernard tries to tell his Mother that there is a monster in the garden which is going to eat him up and after getting the response of "not now Bernard" he goes down the garden to where the monster is sat and the monster quickly eats him up.

      The monster goes into the house and roars at Bernards Mother, he too is told "not now Bernard" he bites Bernards Fathers leg and again is told "not now Bernard. The monster eats Bernards tea, watches the TV, reads a comic and breaks a toy all without being noticed. Finally Bernards Mother sends the monster to bed and when she turns out the light he says "but i'm a monster" to which she replies "not now Bernard."

      ==The Pictures==

      The pictures in this book are very simple and drawn in bold colour, I would say the most detailing in the whole book is the stars on Bernards jumper. Each picture is drawn on a full colour background and there is no patterns or anything to look at. Some of the pictures tell a little extra to the story and my daughter enjoys telling the story from what is happening in the pictures, when Bernard approaches his Father he is hammering a nail and then when he says "not now Bernard" he hits his hand with the hammer and isn't very happy. The pictures show that Bernards parents are simply too busy with other things to actually notice what is happening around them. The monster is a greyish purple in colour and has horns, a snout and big sharp teeth, my daughter says he is a scary monster.

      ==Our Opinions==

      This book is obviously a good one since it has been around for about 32 years, I remember reading this book when I was at school although didn't remember it ending so abruptly. I find the end abrupt as you have been reading the words "not now Bernard" right through the book you don't realise when you first read it that this is going to be the end of the book. My daughter enjoys this book and she says that it's like when I say "not now Sophie" to her! We both like this book and would recommend it although it would have been nicer with a better ending.

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        28.02.2010 22:32
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        A true children's classic

        For World Book Day, my youngest son's nursery have asked for details about the children's favourite stories. I had no hesitation giving the answer for my two and a half year old - Not Now, Bernard by David McKee.

        Bernard is a young boy who discovers a monster in his garden but his attempts to inform his parents of this are ignored by his preoccupied parents. Bernard is subsequently devoured by the monster but his parents fail to notice this and continue to go about their daily business until the bemused monster ends up in Bernard's bed with a glass of milk and parents who are oblivious to the change in Bernard's identity!

        This might seem a strange choice for a child of his age but he has loved this book since I first read it to him about six months ago. I actually thought that this would appeal to my oldest son, as I thought the humour and the message behind this story would appeal to his age group more, but it was my little one that appeared totally smitten by this book, although I must admit to enjoying it myself. I'm not totally sure exactly why he loves this book so much but it is the one that he asks for above all others. We managed to mislay this a few weeks ago and we had tears for a few nights until it resurfaced.

        The version we have is a small hardback edition which was part of a set from Bananas.co.uk. The illustrations inside aren't particular bright or colourful, unlike other stories such as Elmer, also written by David McKee. The accompanying text is very brief and features a short sentence on each page. The refrain 'Not Now, Bernard' is repeated throughout the story as Bernard/the Monster try to attract the parents' attention. This simple repetition also helps to keep the story toddler-friendly. The book is fairly short with just pages in total, each featuring a single line of text. This makes it handy for bedtime reading as we inevitably have to read it for a second time.

        The pictures are very simple and just tend to feature one or two of the characters and it is clear from the picture alone just what is going on, which helps a toddler to make sense of the story. My son really does study the images on each page at length and picks up on each tiny detail within them. For instance, when Bernard first approaches his Dad, his father is hammering a nail into the wall and goes on to bang his thumb with the hammer. My son always comments on the Dad's expression when he bangs his thumb ('He's crying!') and goes on to point out the plaster on his thumb later in the story.

        A story featuring a monster might not seem like ideal bedtime reading for a toddler but the monster isn't portrayed as a particularly frightening character although it has admittedly eaten a child and gone on to masquerade as the boy! The image used is a round fluffy creature with sharp teeth and an often quizzical expression, as he starts to realise that the parents haven't noticed the substitution. The scene where the monster is tucked up in Bernard's bed with a glass of milk is particularly amusing. I think the scariest part for my two year old is when the monster breaks one of Bernard's toys - that always provokes a reaction from my little one.

        For adults, there is a very clear moral message. As a parent, it is all too easy to get preoccupied with all of the daily chores and tasks and overlook the needs of the kids. I can remember many times when I have uttered the same phrase in an exasperated tone, particularly to my oldest son (although I don't, as a general rule, call him Bernard!) In my defence, this is usually at times such as when my youngest child has just vomited all over himself, the floor and me and my oldest is asking me to tell him what channel Ben 10 is on or something. I would like to think that I would notice if one of the children had been devoured by a monster though - at least by bedtime!

        This little book is a timeless classic that will continue to by loved by even very young children as well as their parents for many years to come! I am a great fan of David McKee's work but this is one of my personal favourites and makes a great addition to any child's library.

        Anderson Press
        ISBN-10: 1842704567
        ISBN-13: 978-1842704561
        Copies available from Amazon from £3.49 (new) and 1p plus p&p (used)

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          18.01.2010 20:25
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          Children''s book that appeals to adults

          Not now, Bernard is written by David Mckee. It is widely available from all good bookshops, priced around £4.99 and of course your local library. It is oftern read in school as well as home.

          First published in 1980, this book has been around for a long time now and has stood the test of time.

          The story is about a child (Bernard) who is being 'ignored' by his parents, who gets eaten by a monster, the monster moves into his house and is 'ignored' by the parents just like Bernard.

          This book has several strengths. It appeals to children from probably 2 years up to 5 / 6 years. The graphics are very bright and colourful with a good monster. The writing is quite simple so children can join in with the reading. It's not too long a story so parents won't get too fed up with beign asked to read it again. older children can appreciate the humour, as can parents.

          Younger children may get a bit scared by monsters but this book will show that monsters aren't all scary.

          It's not one of my all time favourite books but I do enjoy reading it. I'd borrow a copy first and see if your child likes it before splashing out.

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            05.01.2010 22:54
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            Don't ignore your kids or they may become monsters!

            Not Now, Bernard is a classic children's book written and illustrated by David McKee. It's been around for almost 30 years and I remember enjoying it as a young child in the 80's.

            The book tells the story of a young boy called Bernard (what an old fashioned name!) who spots a monster in the garden that wants to eat him. When he tries to get his parents' help they are always too busy, pre-occupied with everyday life, to listen to him! 'Not Now, Bernard' is what they always say as Bernard tries to say something. The monster eats Bernard up and then heads indoors, posing as Bernard. Will his parents notice? Read to find out!

            This book is fun to read and quite repetitive so young children can join in. The story is imaginative and not at all predictable. I think it will appeal most to those under 5. Although the story is very short it will be enjoyed again and again by children and adults alike. I used to work with a group of young children as part of a 'family learning' workshop and we used to read this out loud. I had great fun putting on voices for each of the characters and the class would always join in to chant the catchphrase 'Not Now Bernard!' excitedly. It's quite surprising that a book that is 30 years old still has the same appeal today as it did when it was first written.

            Each page only has one sentence so it is great for young readers who are gaining independence in their reading. There is a large illustration on each page, which bring the story to life. The monster doesn't look particularly scary so I don't think young children will be frightened by it at all. In fact I think he looks quite cute, especially when Bernard's parents confuse him!

            I think the story works in different ways for children and adults. As a child I remember this being just a funny story about a boy who gets eaten by a monster, but having re-read it as an adult I felt quite sorry for Bernard. At the back of my mind I did find it a little worrying that Bernard's parents had so little time for him! But I guess we've all been there when we're too busy to listen and have to ask the kids to go watch some tv or read a book! I still found the story amusing nonetheless.

            Moral of the story: Don't ignore your kids or they may turn into monsters!

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              13.07.2009 00:05
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              A story with a message

              I find this picture book about a little boy trying to get attention from his parents very funny and rather sad and disturbing at the same time.
              The story is very short with just one sentence below an illustration on each page - the longest sentence is 14 words and most are a lot shorter. This review is probably longer than the book.

              Bernard goes to talk to each of his parents in turn but they are preoccupied with other activities and don't seem to have much time for him, and everything he says gets the same response, "Not now, Bernard". He tells his mum he is going to be eaten by a monster and she apparently doesn't listen or look, just says, "Not now, Bernard". Bernard goes up to say hello to the monster in the garden, and the monster duly eats him. Then the monster takes on Bernard's life, eating his dinner, watching the television, reading his comic, breaking his toy, and is finally sent to bed by Bernard's mum. The monster points out "But I'm a monster". The response is just "Not now, Bernard". The monster goes to bed clutching Bernard's teddy bear and mum turns out the light.

              So has this neglected child been eaten by a monster or has he turned into one? Or is he simply turning to his imagination as he plays on his own? Why do his mum and dad not talk to him or go into the room to kiss him goodnight? Why do I find such a slight children's story so thought provoking?

              I read it to my 2 year old son yesterday, he enjoyed it and asked me to read it to him again, which I did. It makes me want to give him a hug and make sure I pay him enough attention. I really hope I never catch myself saying "Not now, .... " to either of my little boys.

              This is available at a cover price of £4.99. Amazon currently has it on sale for £4.49 or in a "Mini Treasure" edition for £1.50

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                11.04.2008 06:51
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                Wonderful children's book with scary element

                Masquerading as a children's book, Not Now Bernard might perhaps be seen by many as one for the parents who read it aloud as a bedtime story to their little babes. The front cover acts as an introduction to the story, setting the scene. We see a small boy whom we presume to be Bernard, gazing wide eyed at what is obviously a monster, and a fearsome one at that, baring his teeth from on top of a mound. The monster is about as broad as he is tall and is almost all face, with short limbs attached.

                Opening the cover, we see the monster again, but this time he has his index finger on his mouth and looks as though he thinks he has done something wrong. On the title page we see a full-figure picture of Bernard, wide eyed again and with a minute dot for a mouth. Turn the page, and Bernard is saying hello to his Dad, pictured here banging a nail into a wall. Bernard is standing behind him, and Dad doesn't turn round but merely replies 'Not now, Bernard.' At the same time he hits his finger with the hammer and appears to cry out in pain. A similar episode occurs with Bernard's Mum on the next two pages; she is busy in the kitchen and ignores Bernard's hello just like Dad did. Bernard seems to be seeking attention when he persists by telling Mum that there is a monster in the garden that's going to eat him. Mum obviously thinks this is a tall story and continues to give the standard 'Not now, Bernard' as a reply.

                Having had no joy with his parents, Bernard decides to go into the garden and say hello to the monster. Perhaps it will take some notice of Bernard. This is what he in fact does, but not in the way Bernard had hoped. He eats Bernard up, and we see the monster left holding just one shoe. The monster then decides to go indoors, and lets out an almighty 'ROAR' behind Bernard's mother as she is painting a wall. Thinking once again that it is just Bernard, she gives the usual reply 'Not now, Bernard.' The monster then finds Dad sitting in an armchair, hidden behind the newspaper, and on biting Dad's foot, the reply is merely repeated, as Dad doesn't actually see what is happening. When Mum puts Bernard's dinner on a table in front of the television, she calls her son but doesn't wait to see if he comes to eat. The monster eats the dinner and continues by amusing himself with a comic and the television. After a while, Mum calls to Bernard, telling him that he should go to bed and that she has taken his milk upstairs. We see the monster on his way up with teddy in tow, and then settled in bed with teddy. At this point he objects, 'But I'm a monster.' Mum is in the doorway, but rather than take a look or say goodnight, she switches off the light and for one final time says, 'Not now, Bernard.'

                Do we interpret this as a message concerning the terrible consequences for parents who persistently ignore their children and never spend any time with them? Or do we assume that everything was a figment of Bernard's imagination because of his boredom? Did he convincingly take on the role of a monster, roaring, biting, and breaking one of his toys? Such deep questions. Perhaps the most interesting point is that young children don't seem to find this story frightening; they usually love it and have a great laugh over it. This could be partly because of the illustrations. They fill most of the page, and the monster looks rather comical just after he has supposedly eaten Bernard: his tongue hangs out as he holds up a shoe. He holds up a dinner plate and lets the food trickle into his mouth; when he watches television, he stands on top of the set (before the flat-screen era) and peers down from above. Colours and patterns are bright and cheerful, giving a definite friendly feel.

                As well as being a popular bedtime story, this is an excellent reading book for children between the ages of four and a half and seven. It fits the National Literary Scheme's requirements in England and Wales of being a story with a familiar setting, a story with patterned language, and a story by a significant children's author. For these reasons there is also an accompanying teachers' resource book available. The fact that phrases such as 'Not now, Bernard,' are repeated would of course make it easy for very young readers to recognise words that appear every now and again throughout the book. There are never more than fourteen words on a page, and in fact the word count on most pages is only about six.

                Not Now, Bernard has delighted children for more than twenty years now; some that heard or read the first edition are now nostalgically reading it to their own children. I would definitely recommend it either for reading aloud or for early independent reading. It is attractive both visually and in terms of a story that captures the imagination of a child who can identify with Bernard's boredom and loneliness.

                Not Now Bernard
                by David McKee
                Red Fox, 1984
                Paperback, 26 pages
                ISBN 0099240505
                Price £4.99

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              • Product Details

                The classic picture book story about a little boy and his preoccupied parents who are too busy to notice him — now available in a miniature hardcover edition. Bernard’s parents are so busy doing their own thing, that they don’t notice the monster in the garden, nor see when the monster eats Bernard. In fact, the monster can eat Bernard’s dinner, break his toys, and even say “But I’m a monster,” without being noticed!