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~~ Introduction ~~
Toffee Takes a Nap by Sally Chambers
© Sally Chambers 2000
Piccadilly Press, London
ISBN 1 85340 617 1 paperback - my copy was priced at £4.99. The Amazon U.K. website, accessed 6/2/12, has it priced at £7.00, from £0.01 used, or £19.99 in hardback format: ISBN 1 85340 612 0.
My copy says that Sally lives in Hayes, Kent. She has written and illustrated a number of picture books.
Other books are available in the 'Toffee' series, i.e. Toffee In Trouble, Toffee's Night Noises and Toffee's New Friend. She has also written others including the 'Wilbie' series and 'Barty Ketchup.' I've read 'Toffee's Night Noises' to children quite often and it's very popular with them.
~~Précis of the Story~~
The scene is set on a warm sunny day, clearly in summer as shown by bees, butterflies and flowers. Toffee the cat is basking in the sun, as cats will, and falls asleep at the side of the garden pond. She begins to dream but unfortunately has a nasty surprise when she rolls over and falls in! She dries off in the sun and tries to sleep again. I hope it's not a spoiler to say that this is just the first attempt to have a peaceful nap. She is thwarted by noisy 'neighbours' and narrowly avoids a fight, so Toffee, by now feeling very tired, seeks out a suitable place indoors for her nap; I won't spoil the story for you, but her final choice makes you want to smile, especially if you know cats!
~~ Some Analysis ~~
This is a story for very young children. It's the kind of simple story that would be suitable to share with babies at around nine months of age, but it would still hold the interest of children who are will soon to be able to read independently or are beginning to do so, for instance, children in Year 1 in a school in England [5 -6 years old] If you're reading it with a small child, don't be surprised if you are requested to read it over and over again - it's that kind of book. It's written in a direct style, using short words and sentences. The setting is domestic: a garden & house that will be familiar to most children. Garland jumps right into the action by briefly setting the scene and allowing Toffee to fall asleep straight away. She uses a dialogue style when indicating the noises made by the various creatures in the story. There is some use of alliteration [where a consonantal sound is repeated] and assonance [repetition of a vowel sound] sparingly: 'Toffee to take' and 'lovely sunny' so it doesn't seem contrived. I really dislike it when words are put in children's stories simply to alliterate or rhyme, and it seems artificial - it's not the case here. It is very simple, but if you look at it closely it does contain the core components of a true story: theme: Toffee's need of sleep; plot: involving conflict - here the obstacles to her getting sleep. Scenes are used to show the conflict with its initial success and seeming reversals until we begin to move towards the resolution when Toffee goes indoors through the cat flap. Children will probably empathise with her tiredness when they see the illustration where she yawns widely! Her character is identified in part by the way 'she doesn't want to fight' and she is frightened. Toffee is clearly a conflict-avoider - or, to be slightly unkind perhaps, a bit of a scaredy cat! Actually, come to think about it, it would be quite a useful book to use with children to analyse what makes a story.
~~ Comments on the Material Aspects ~~
The frontispiece indicates that the font is set in 32pt Bembo, not a font I am familiar with. It doesn't have the lower case 'a' without the curve at the top, as young children learn to write it, which is how fonts like Sassoon and Century produce this letter, but it is clear and pleasing to my eye. 32 pt is large and I feel it has the effect of drawing your eye to the text on the page - again useful for early readers.
From the illustration angle, I find it appealing. Toffee is portrayed as a rather cute, brown and orange striped cat with a white face, belly, paws & tail tip. The other cat in the story is not portrayed so appealingly, but this is in character! I like the sense of drama in the illustrations, for instance, when Toffee falls in the pond. I also like the way her ears turn down when something goes wrong, and the animation on the faces of the little birds, as well as Tom's grumpiness; it all adds to the overall impact of the story.
~~ In Conclusion ~~
I find this a visually attractive, well thought-out story that would appeal to children from babyhood through to the age of 6 or so. The simple but dramatic text, with its changes of mood, makes it a joy to read aloud and share with children. It is simple enough for slightly older children to look at or maybe even read alone or with a little support. It has all the main elements of a good story but in a simple, embryonic form. It's a theme that children will identify with, particularly if they own or know about cats. It's also great fun which is a very important factor and I highly recommend it!
I have to give it a 5 star rating.
Thank you for reading this review!
It may also be found on other sites.
Toffee takes a nap is narrated in both the present tense and the third person as if the author is actually talking directly to the reader which is most unusual for a childrens book. It makes for interesting reading as children often make appropriate comments in response to the words rather than independant observations.
The story commences on a lovely sunny day when Toffee the ginger tabby cat is asleep in the sun on the edge of the pond. Surrounded by flowers, a snail, a butterfly and a bumble bee Toffee starts to dream and rolls over waking up with a start looking very bedraggled and rather wet. Toffee dries off in the sun surrounded by more flowers and lots of birds. Unfortunately the birds are very noisy and Toffee can't get to sleep. Toffee goes in search of some peace. The book follows Toffee on her search for a spot to snooze but all the best spots are already occupied. Will poor tired Toffee ever find somewhere to nap?
The pictures are big and bold. The text is simple and easily understood. Its a very nice childrens book but not one I'd rush to buy. My children prefer a little more action in stores.
Toffees exploits contiue in Toffee's new friend, Toffees night noises and Toffee in trouble all priced at £4.99 in paperback.
Toffee takes a nap is a lovely book aimed at young children from 2 years upwards. Toffee is a orange cat with brown stripes who is very sleepy and wants to take a nap but cant find a suitable place.
Firstly Toffee falls asleep in a lovely quiet place beside the pond but just after Toffee falls asleep she accidentally rolls over splashing into the pond so she decides to find a nice warm place in the sun to dry off and have her nap but the birds singing keeps her awake.
This time Toffee decides to go and sleep on the shed roof, it must be peaceful up there but when she gets there Tom is already there and unwilling to share so she hurries off into the house looking for somewhere else to take her nap.
Eventually Toffee finds a nice quiet spot in the study on the desk to take her nap.
This book is one in a series of books written by Sally Chambers about Toffee the cat. The drawings in this book are wonderful and tell the story so much better than the words.
The words in this book are quite simple and very large so it is ideal for teaching a young child to read.
The writer and illustrator of this wonderful series of books is Sally Chambers. It features a cute little cat called Toffee who, in real life, lives with her parents. There are four books and this is the second that I have reviewed, the first being Toffee In Trouble.
The story starts with Toffee lying beside a pond.
Its a lovely sunny day. Perfect for Toffee to take a nap. Toffee starts to dream.
Turn the page and and there is a big splash,
Then she rolls over .
She climbs out of the pond looking very bedraggled and finds a spot in dry off in the sun. Unfortunately the birds and making too much noise for her to get back to sleep, so she climbs up on top of the shed.
There is trouble up there as Tom hisses at Toffee and frightens her, so she runs inside the house. Poor Toffee is very tired and looks everywhere for a cosy spot to curl up for her nap. Finally she finds a quiet spot on a desk at the top of the house and snuggles down to sleep.
These drawings are bright and colourfully full of details. The pictures of Toffee are very realistic in the expressions and way that she curls up and Sally Chambers has captured the movement of this cat perfectly. The text is a good size and makes it easy for young readers to follow.
***Other Toffee Books***
Toffee In Trouble
Toffees New Friend
Toffees Night Noises
My son loved the first Toffee book so when he saw this in the library, he recognised the character immediately. He loves following the story of this cute little pussycat, as she tries to do what all cats love to do most.
The pictures are delightful and I like the way that on some pages there is a sort of storyboard effect with one example being where Toffee falls in the pond. There are 4 pictures on the double page showing her sitting in the pond, then getting out before shaking herself off and then kicking the last drop of water from her back leg. This effect really shows every bit of what she is feeling with the expressive way she is drawn. The idea of letting the pictures tell the story rather than having lots of words is great as you can discuss this with your children and get them to tell you what is happening in each picture.
The story is kept very simple throughout the book and this works really well. Sometimes I feel the stories go into too much detail and children are not able to imagine what will happen on the next page. This is not the case here and there are often little clues in each picture that can help your child guess what will happen next.
Im definitely going to have to look out for the other two books in this series, as it seems to be a firm favourite with my son.
This book is available from Tesco for £4.49 in paperback, which is slightly less than the publishers price of £5.99.
ISBN No. 1853406171
It was a lovely sunny day. A perfect day for Toffee to take a nap. But it is impossible for Toffee to find the peace and quiet she needs. One thisg after another happens, until Toffee remembers un unexpected warm spot.