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Yes - Jez Alborough

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Hardcover: 40 pages / Publisher: Walker Books Ltd / Published: 7 Aug 2006

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      11.01.2013 15:30
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      A brilliant picture book for pre-schoolers

      I bought this book for 20p from a library stock sale last year. I went towards the end of the morning, and most of the children's books had gone, meaning that those that remained had been passed up and rejected many times over. All the books were 25p or six for £1, and I must admit this was one I selected really to make up the six. But...it is brilliant! With fewer than ten different words, the most frequent being 'Yes' and 'No' the most important aspect to the book is the pictures. The subject matter, and the comical and observant illustrations, make the story one which, judging by Baby CrazyEgg's reactions when she first saw it at 12 (9) months, is easy for babies to follow and enjoy. Now she is 19 (16) months, this book continues to be one that is regularly dragged from the book box.

      I am not one for comic books. I like words, and since my attention to the pictures in such books is limited at best, the stories rarely make sense. This laziness at analysing and interpreting pictures is something that a book like 'Yes!' throws into the spotlight for me, since reading the word 'yes' repeatedly without having taken the time to observe the proceedings in the pictures would make the book extremely dull for both myself and Baby CrazyEgg. The limited text forced me to look more closely at the pictures, to determine the story and therefore apply a suitable intonation to my reading. However, the pictures allow scope for there to be several appropriate intonations, so that variations of the story can be told.

      The story is about Bobo the baby chimpanzee. Bobo likes having a bath, which he takes in a jungle pool under the supervision of his Mum. He enters the pool with a splash by jumping off a log, and he plays happily. But then, oh dear! Mum says it is bed-time. Bobo does not like bed-time. He says "No!" and stays in the pool. When his Mum tries to pick him up, he runs further into the pool.

      I should break from my description here to highlight a possible disadvantage of the book. At present, Baby CrazyEgg is going through a most pleasing phase of saying, "Bed, bed" when she wants to go to sleep. Yes, by some miracle she actually enjoys curling up for a snooze in her cot at midday and 7pm and requests to be put there! My fear is that she will get the message from Bobo that bed is not the fantastic option she currently believes it to be, and will instead mimic Bobo's antics...

      To make himself clear Bobo then stands on rock in the pool, stamping and shaking his fists at Mum! In a brilliant tactical move Mum Chimp cheerily says goodbye to Bobo and leaves him in his huff, on a rock in the middle of the pool. She doesn't leave him completely however, but hunkers down in the jungle foliage to ensure Bobo is safe.

      Next Bobo's two friends the Iguana and the Elephant come along and they all splash about in the pool together. The leaping and splashing is all so hilarious that Bobo's frown turns to a smile! Baby CrazyEgg's favourite pictures appear to be the one where the Iguana is mid-leap, mouth agape in a huge grin; and when the Elephant leaps in with an enormous splash. After the Elephant has tired them all out by spraying them both with water from his trunk, they all get out of the pool. Bobo falls asleep and Elephant carries him to the arms of his Mum, who lies him gently down in his nest of leaves.

      And that is it! A simple story, but told with great warmth through the brilliant artistry of Jez Alborough. Published in 2006 by Walker Books, this is one to definitely read.

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