Yuck! is another award winning book from the multi-award winning husband and wife team Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom. It is a short, simple and striking book aimed at ages two to five. It was given to my daughter on her second birthday earlier this year. Like most young children she is a fan of all things revolting and stinky so it seemed the perfect present.
The words are rhythmic and repetitive; "What's for Supper?" is asked, and we learn on each double spread about the things different baby animals eat. The way the text is written makes it very difficult to read without expressing mock horror and revulsion at what these baby animals are eating. "This baby crunches up a black beetle. A beetle, all crispy and crunchy and straight out of a cow pat? That's not our baby's supper!" The word, "Yuck!", in thick dark letters sprawls diagonally across the bottom of the page. On the facing page, or spread across both, are the illustrations; huge, seeming almost slapdash, bold strokes, colourful, characterful yet realistic and professional, (Manning has an MA in Natural History illustration). The creatures look scruffy, cheeky and full of life, (not unlike toddlers). The happy baby frog is truly relishing that beetle! After learning about the disgusting things eaten by several animals, we turn the page to find a human baby sat there all contented and chubby looking, draining a cup of milk, and this time when the refrain suggests that it's time to say yuck, we actually say "Yum!" Over the page however, all those other babies lie in wait, ready to shout out their opinion on warm, creamy milk for supper - not too much of a plot spoiler if I tell you it begins with Y and ends with K!
This is a fab, fun book for littl'uns. I like the fact that it uses humour to teach children about nature. I imagine it would be good to read with a group of children. My daughter enjoys joining in shouting Yuck! and Yum! at the appropriate times. She did seem slightly perturbed by the owl eating the furry rat at one point, but I discovered that it was because she thought the owl might actually be eating a fairy! Once I put her straight she was happy enough to face the harsh realities of nature. My only query is about the little bird on the cover that is slurping a rotten egg. Why is the egg rotten? Anyone know why that might be? I need the answer for when my daughter starts saying the word 'Why?' 1000 times a day.
The copy I have is the paperback version and it is doing very well, I think once kids reach the age of about two they don't involuntarily destroy books so much. It has survived intact for a few months despite being a popular choice. There is a hardcover version available but I haven't seen this available as a board book.
To sum up; great drawings, teaches about nature, great fun.
Further Details, (from Amazon):
Paperback: 18 pages
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books; New edition (1 Sep 2005)
Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 24 x 0.4 cm