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Watch out It's Dinnertime!
Dinner Time - Anne Carter
Member Name: catsholiday
Dinner Time - Anne Carter
Date: 02/09/12, updated on 02/09/12 (42 review reads)
Advantages: Lovely pictures and pop ups
Disadvantages: naff rather scientifically inaccurate story
Jan Pienkowski 'Dinner Time'
This was one of my daughter's favourite books when she was younger and I have kept it all this time, bringing it back from Australia with us too. My daughter is now over thirty and despite the fact that it was then passed to my son it still has most of the pop-ups in tact. I have made a few running repairs over the years but it is still a well loved book. I read it with my grandsons now eight and six and now my two year old granddaughter also asks for it.
I will be honest and admit that apart from the pop-ups i really don't know what the attraction is to this book. We have other lovely pop up books and they are cast aside in favoir of this and another Jan Pienkowski book we have called 'Gossip'.
Jan Pienkowski has created a beautiful series of books for younger children on colours, faces , home and numbers to name a few. His illustrations are clear, simple and brightly coloured. We did have this set too but sadly left them behind in Australia.
The story in this book is extremely simple. It starts with 'one day a frog was sitting on a log catching flies when sown came a....' the frog is a bright green and his mouth opens as you open the page and inside his mouth is a red and pink colour. The fog is painted in sort of naive style in water colour which is slightly seeping and his spots are splodges of paint.
On the next page we have a vulture whose long yellow beak pops out from his rather glamourous pink body or head. The vulture then says to the frog 'I am going to eat you for my dinner' And he did. As you can see the story is simple and indeed not exactly one you would think would appeal to a child but somehow it does.
Vulture then gets eaten by a gorilla with a protruding muzzle and opening mouth. The book isn't exactly scientifically accurate either as gorillas are vegetarians so wouldn't eat a vulture but I did say it was weird.
The gorilla is then eaten by a brightly coloured tiger with huge teeth. Each time the text is the same just changing the name of the animal and then the last part on each page changes as the animal moves on having eaten his dinner which was of course the previous animal.
The tiger is then eaten by a crocodile. The croc is the page with the most repairs as his snout is quite thin and children get tempted to put their fingers and hands inside the mouth. Crocodile is the final victim to become lunch and he is 'gobbled up' by shark who says nothing at all. Shark also has a few 'mends' as his pink mouth of white teeth is also very tempting to test for little fingers.
I don't know what to make of this book as every child who I have shown it to loves it. The story is not only strange but is scientifically inaccurate. I don't know why she couldn't have done a similar story with more likely animals eating the next after all there is not a shortage of animals which eat others.
The story is repetitious which young children like. The pop- ups come out from the book and are sort of 3D as children can put their fingers in the mouths. The illustrations are lovely and great colours so i see the attraction to the pictures.
I believe Jan Pienkowski is the artist and the 'story' such as it is has been written by Anne Carter so maybe Jan Pienkowski created the animals and Ms Carter just collected them and created the story which might explain why they are such a strange lot of animals. I think Pienkowski does a better story telling job than this author and Pienkowski does his own stories; personally I do love the ' Mog and Meg 'books about a witch and her black cat.
There is an element of surprise as each page ends with 'down came a .... ' or 'along came a......' and the animals name is found as you turn the page and at the same time the pop-up pops out in a very exciting way . I also open and shut the page which makes the mouth move and that always causes great mirth from whoever I am reading this to.
The paper engineering to make the pop-ups has been done by Marcin Stajewski and James Roger Dias but they only get a mention at the back of the book on the cover. My book was $3.95 in Australia over thirty years ago and was published by Collins. I see on Amazon prices for this range from 1p plus P&P to an amazing £42.43. I cannot imagine anyone paying that price. I think that about £3 or £4 is about the right price but you do always pay extra for pop- up books I suppose.
As I have said I can't see the attraction of this book but it certainly is popular with children. It was shared by mine with their friends and maybe the fact that they can re tell the story and make the mouths move is what makes it child friendly. The story is naff and inaccurate but the pictures are beautiful and the paper engineering very clever.
Children would give this five stars but i am taking one off for the rubbish story.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
Summary: A book that children love with great pop ups