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As my three year old currently loves Nursery Rhymes on a recent trip to the library we picked up a hardback copy of The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon by Mini grey. The book reads on the back a description of how you have read the rhyme and invites you to find out what happens to this duo.
I actually expected this book to relate to the nursery rhyme and sadly I was disappointed. The story is as predicted about the dish and the spoon that tend to be evoked by a piece of music which sent them running off in the moonlight. The adventure is not as you would expect. They star in a travelling show and become rich beyond their wildest dreams however dish started wasting the cash on a glitzy lifestyle and soon they were broke. They ended up borrowing from loan sharks who are illustrated a sharp knives who once the dish and spoon can repay them ties Dish to a train track. Spoon comes up with a plan to become bank robbers to repay the loan sharks. This was not a solution as they were recognised and wanted posters were pinned nationwide and their attempts to escape failed when they fell over a jagged rock and Dish broke. As dish was broken then Spoon felt equally bad so decided to hand himself in and got a prison sentence of twenty five years. This story does turn around to a relatively happy ending.
The first time I read this book I was actually quite shocked at the subject matter. I expected a book that was based on a nursery rhyme to be light hearted and cheerful. While I know my son will grow up and learn about such things I do want him to keep his innocence as long as is reasonable. I found the illustrations too look quite scary and dark. The cows are seen jumping over the moon and obviously the dish and spoon are running away together and this is the only relation to the nursery rhyme. My son does understand Jail and it is somewhere you go when you are naughty as he has learnt this from Noddy it is taught in a much friendlier and light hearted manner. The image of the spoon in a top with arrows on and looking dejected in a cell is actually quite a sad image. The majority of pictures in this book like dark, sad or angry. The colourings of the illustrations are beiges, blacks which add to this dark atmosphere. While every child enjoys fantasy I don't think a child should see a dish that is actually a character tied to a train line while a steam is heading straight for him. While you could argue the morals that crime doesn't pay in this book, it isn't a lesson I think my son needs to learn at his young age and not in the tone of the story.
I have only read this book to my son once prior to knowing the content of this book. He did listen to the story but did not indicate he was highly excited by this book. Since reading I have put it out of sight and he has not asked about the book. I will be returning it to the library when all his other books are due back in a week and will be avoiding any books by this author in the future
I would recommend you avoid this book and while children are growing up quicker than when we were children I don't think we need to encourage this kind of knowledge in children.
If for some reason you want to purchase this book it is available on Amazon for £10.99 for the hardback version the paperback version is £3.97.
ISBN-13 no. 978-0224070379