Newest Review: ... clever plan to try and stop them. The rhyming text makes What the Ladybird heard a pleasure to read out loud and the witty story appeals t... more
Then the goose said "Neigh!" with all her might...
What the Ladybird Heard - Julia Donaldson
Member Name: CrazyEgg
What the Ladybird Heard - Julia Donaldson
Advantages: Fun repetition and rhyme, exciting story, available as a board book
Disadvantages: None. It's great!
Playing safe, I opted for board books, as Baby CrazyEgg at 14/17months has a tendency to bend, crush, squeeze, rip and eat paper pages. Measuring approximately 18cm by 18cm "What the Ladybird heard" has only been available as a board book since March 2012, and is still available in the previous paperback version as well as a sound book. The board book at £3.99 was ideal for us as it is the right size for Baby CrazyEgg to turn the pages herself, and having seen the glittery yellow cover with all the animals from the story illustrated, this was something she was very keen to do.
The illustrations in this book are brilliant. As far as the publishers (Macmillan) are concerned, they would probably say that the 'glittery ladybird on every page' was one of the most notable features. They have highlighted this on the cover, promoting the idea of finding the ladybird as an additional string to the book's bow. This task will have to come into its own later for us, as Baby CrazyEgg has shown little interest in the Ladybird despite her being the star of the show. He does feature on each double page spread, he is glittery- you can feel it- and he is challengingly hard to find for a young baby and a short-sighted Mum. (Had to run my fingers over one page to check it was him.) But for Baby CrazyEgg the orange cat is of more interest, and it is the cat to whom she points before looking at me expectantly to provide the "Meeeeooww!" before returning to a general nonsensical babble of her own.
(I seem always to be writing about orange cats with Baby CrazyEgg...weird...)
Baby CrazyEgg took to the pictures of the animals straight away. They are full of character and all have goggly eyes, including the hen. Although most of them are painted, there is a kind of collage effect with the sheep's wool being a photo of actual sheep's wool, and there are further photos of leaves and foliage which gives the book a lively, vibrant feel.
There are 24 pages, and the story is told in rhyme with a delicious rhythm and repetition that delights rather than drains. The animals all get to speak so there is ample opportunity for different sounds and voices, and it all gets very interesting when the animals impersonate their other animal friends. You have to "Neigh!" like a goose for example. Now that's a challenge. It takes about five minutes to read out the whole book, and Baby has been happy to listen to the whole tale- not every time. Sometimes when she has turned the pages I have had to edit somewhat, but the story can be told more briefly than it is.
And what a story! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! The book tells of two thieves who plan to steal the fine prize cow. But the Ladybird overhears their plotting and is driven to speak, telling the farm animals of the thieves' dastardly plan. However, the Ladybird has a plan of her own and all the animals get in on the act. Through their uncannily accurate impersonations of their friends they disorientate the thieves when they come to spirit away the cow, and they fall in the pond, get arrested and are taken away in a police car, "NEE NAA!" like the baddies they are. Phew!
And that is why this is a fantastic book. Even if you are a bona fide grown up you should have a flick through.
Summary: A brilliant book that you won't mind reading over and over...Moo!
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