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When my little M&M was still in my belly, we read classic horror to her in the evenings. She kicked and wriggled to The Turn Of The Screw, The Telltale Heart and The House Of Usher. Dickens delighted her with the story of a haunted signal box and Conan-Doyle with the terrifying hound bounding across the moor. I love to read, and during our time in hospital, she snuggled on my lap among magazines and novels. It was only a matter of time before she confidently sat next to me at home on the sofa, leafing through the pages of a takeaway menu.
We quickly tired of the two board books included in our bookstart pack and The Boyfriend stopped at the shelf in Tesco, choosing a book that fish-hating mummy wouldn't have looked twice at. Tiddler, the story telling fish. This rhyming book tells the story of Tiddler, who dreams up far-fetched stories as he turns up late every day for school. We are now at the stage where all three of us know the story off by heart and as I stuff washing into the machine or run her bath and hear The Boyfriend reading it aloud to her, I can't help but shout out the next line.
Every morning, Miss Skate calls the register (cue a posh falsetto from whoever's reading it) and we love the repetition as she discovers that Tiddler is late. Tiddler invariably arrives with a tall story, which is derided by the fish who make up the rest of the class. Only his loyal friend, Johnny Dory, sticks up for him and tells the stories to his old granny, who being a bit of a gossip, repeats them to starfish, seals and anyone who will listen. Eventually we get to a boy-who-cried-wolf situation, where Tiddler, on his way to school, is caught in a net! The situation is menacing enough to bring the book to a climax, with poor scared Tiddler escaping through luck and having to find his own way home.
I absolutely love this book; it's a bedtime staple and very well illustrated. The pictures of the fish are consistent, so we can identify the class members and talk about who's who, while the drama of the stories and the situations are perfectly captured. The level of detail on each page gives us opportunities to spot different objects and creatures and the bright colours are attractive. She recognises the aqua cover and shiny title straight away and crying and fidgeting are put on hold during Tiddle Time.
The story flows very well and thanks to the poetic style, I don't get tired of reading it. It's not short enough to be finished before her eyes start to droop at bedtime and not so long that the end remains unread. This book has real longevity and has remained popular, long after the touchy-feely and mirrored books have been pushed off the bed onto the floor. Our edition is a board book, making it easy for her sticky little fingers to turn the pages and meaning it stands up well to being battered and chewed. We love Tiddler and his lies, few things melt me like reading this in our pyjamas.
Tiddler the story telling fish was a book that my son picked up on a recent visit to the library. I have to say that the thing I noticed about the book was that it is written by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler who also wrote The Gruffalo. The Gruffalo is a story that both my son and I enjoy reading together and so I thought that this may be an enjoyable read too.
The front cover of the book shows a bright and vibrant under the sea scene with fish, seahorses and octopus and even a shark! There are lots to look at on the front cover and the illustrations here really make you want to investigate the book further.
The book is about a small plain fish named Tiddler who makes up for his plain appearance by telling tall tales to the other fish such as he had been flying with a ray or riding a seahorse. Tiddler is always late for school and when he does arrive he makes up a story to excuse him being late. Of course everyone knows that Tiddler is making up the stories but they still repeat the stories to their friends and so the tales spread throughout the ocean.
One day Tiddler is caught by a fisherman and is taken off into a new place in the ocean, where the fisherman decides Tiddler is too small to keep and so he throws him back in to the ocean. Tiddler is lost but whilst swimming around the ocean he hears a story which he recognises to be one of his own. He asks the fish telling the story where they heard it and they lead him to where they heard it and this pattern carries on until finally Tiddler makes it all the way back home. When he gets back to school and tells his tale of course no one believes him!
My son did like this story somewhat but I have to say he didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much as he enjoyed The Gruffalo and I agree with him. Whilst the story is fine it definitely didn't grab our attention in the way that The Gruffalo did and it is not one that we will be looking to add to our book collection.
What I personally enjoyed the most about this book is the great illustrations. Some of the expressions on the fishes faces are great and the pictures are just so colourful that they appear really inviting and make you want to look at them and see if you can spot anything within them.
The book is published by Scholastic books and this paperback copy has a price of £5.99 but having checked on Amazon I can tell you that it can be purchased for £3.99.
Whilst this is a pleasant enough book we didn't enjoy it enough to want to go and buy it and so for that reason I award this book three stars.
Thank you for reading my review!
My mother in law bought this book as a present for my children. When i first heard it read i was not as impressed with it as some of the other books we own written by Julia Donaldson, but it has really grown on me over time.
It is written in a similar style to her other books (The Gruffalo, Gruffalos child, Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose, Hippo has a hat) in that it is written in a rhyming manner. I think it is aimed at the slightly older toddler as the rhyme is over a longer paragraph than books like Hippo has a hat.
Again, she has teamed up with an exceptional illustrator (Axel Scheffler) so the pictures match beautifully to the happenings in the story.
Tiddler is a little fish who is late every day for school, and he always makes up a story to excuse himself. This story follows him really getting lost one day when he is caught by a fisherman and then thrown back as he is a tiddler, but he is far away from home, and doesn't know how to get out of the scary situation until he hears other sea creatures retelling his story. He traces the story back until he eventually finds his way home.
No-one believes tiddlers story, apart from little Johny Dory.
I think i was put off this book a bit at first because it is quite long at 32 pages, and it has more writing per page than some of her other books. I also felt at first like i was trying to read a bit of a tongue twister.
However, my kids love it, and it has become easier to read as you get used to the slightly faster rhyme. It won't ever be my favourite Julia Donaldson, but if you have a child in your life, they will probably love the characters in this book.
Also, it shows a large number of sea creatures, so from that point alone i like it as i feel i am helping to expand my childrens knowledge of the world in a totally fun way and at very little effort on my part.
Why this book
We came across this book on our last trip to the library when my son and I were choosing some books for him. The cover seemed to immediately capture his imagination as the illustrations of a fish seal and octopus smiled at him from the cover. Having previously enjoyed lots of other books by Julia Donaldson I thought this book would probably be a winner too and we weren't disappointed.
This book is written by Julia Donaldson who has a reputation as a world class writer for children and is perhaps best known for her book The Gruffalo. She has written according to her website 154 books of which 53 can be bought and the rest are designed just for schools. This book sees her teamed together again with the illustrator of The Gruffalo Axel Scheffler.
About the book
As this a children's book I think I can give away what happens in the story so here goes.
This book tells the tale of Tiddler a small story telling fish. Each day when he arrives late at school he tells a wonderful tale of why he was late such as finding treasure and being rescued by mermaids. All the other little fish in his class don't believe him except Little Johnny Dory and he likes the stories so much he tells it to his granny who in turn tells it to a crab and a plaice. These fish then pass on the story to the rest of the fish in the sea. One day when Tiddler is on his way to school day dreaming up his next tale he doesn't notice the fisherman with their nets and he gets scooped up by the nets but then gets thrown back into the sea for being too small. When he is thrown back he is lost and scared and hides in the seaweed till he hears one of his tales he has told by some other fish. He then follows the story and where people heard it till he finds himself back at granny Dory when he tells this tale to everyone at school no one bar little Johnny Dory believes his adventure.
This book has proved to be a bed time book favorite for our son he loves the story and the use of rhyme by Julia Donaldson. The rhyme its self is a nice relaxed lolloping one and you don't feel the need to gallop though it to keep the pace of the rhyme going. That said I do at times find myself getting a little tongue tied when reading it out loud to my son but that just adds to the charm for my son as he giggles if I get it a bit wrong.
The use of some repetitive phrases such as "Tiddler, Tiddler, Tiddler's late" is good and is often mimicked by my son. The use of some almost pantomime language of "Oh no she didn't oh yes she did" is something my son has also latched on to whilst reading it and will try to join in with as we read this book.
The stories Tiddler tells seem to capture his imagination and he loves listening to the story as we read this book to him. He does occasionally interrupt the flow of the story however as he gets excited by the illustrations in the book.
Scheffler's illustrations beautifully capture the essence of the words with descriptions such as the "captured by a squid. I wriggled and struggled till a turtle came and rescued me" this is translated into images that bring these words even more to life on the page. The illustrations also seize my son's imagination as he points out the sharks, fish, octopus and seals; some of the marine animals have now made their way into his vocabulary through reading the book. One of the things I was delighted by was spotting the Gruffalo-fish lurking and cashing Tiddler. I think Scheffler must try to put a Gruffalo in each of his books with Julia Donaldson now as we found one in "The Snail and the Whale" book too The illustrations are what are described as flat meaning that they sit there on the page and are not trying to be three dimensional. But the word flat just seems wrong to be used to describe such whimsical images that do in fact seem to be full of life.
The majority of the text is on a white background or a light blue back ground of the sea meaning it is nice and easy to read when using dimmed lights at bedtime.
The book is excellent in my opinion at conveying the power that stories and tales can have for people especially young children. This is wonderfully demonstrated by Tiddler as he finds his way home via his stories. It also shows within the book how we can learn from a story and use them to help us in everyday life.
I was expecting it to be a bit of a moral bashing story in some ways such as the boy who cried wolf and that children should learn not to tell tales. In fact in someway the reverse is actually true, with this book as it is Tiddler's tales that save him. The author and illustrator are encouraging children with this book to use their imagination here and think of wild and wonderful stories.
Though aimed at children from 3 upwards my 2 and a half year old love the story and enjoys the illustrations with all the creatures cartoon faces. I think from a learning perspective that older children could be encouraged to make up stories of their own following reading this and develop their imaginations more.
All the names of the fish and illustrations are fish from the sea such as Dab Skate Spiderfish. Now true most of these aren't in the aquarium at our local Pets at Home but it doesn't stop my son and I trying to see if they are in the aquariums to help him learn more about marine life.
A wonderful story of a little fish having some big adventures both in real life and his imagination. The illustrations are clever and full of whimsical delight for both adults and children. The illustrations add depth and fun to the story that has delighted everyone in our household.
Board book: 30 pages
Publisher: Alison Green Books; 1 edition (3 May 2010)
On sale on Amazon for £3.99 or from the marketplace from £2.14
We have become addicted to the Julia Donaldson books in our household. We started with the gruffalo, and loved the rhyming style of the stories so starting collecting from there...
My daughter is two and we were only really reading board books, so at first thought she was too young for a longer book like this (32 pages), but the style of writing is quick, and flows like a poem, made more interesting with Axel Scheffers brilliant illustrations.
Tiddler is about a small fish who is always always late for school, dawdling and dreaming up exciting tales about where he has been.
"Sorry im late miss. I set of really early
But on the way to school i was captured by a squid.
I wriggled and I struggled till a turtle came and rescued me."
"Oh no he didnt" "Oh yes he did"
One day he finds he really is caught up in an adventure to tell his classmates, but will he find his way home? and will his classmates believe his story?
This is a great book for all ages, my little girl loves singing the words along with me, and loves shouting the repeated phrase 'tiddler? tiddler? tiddlers late!' . Even though she cant read yet, she knows this story off by heart. She has learnt the names of lots of different fish and sea creatures, such as skate, eels, anchovies, lobster, etc. I cant wait to take her to an aquariam now to see the real things!
Really good value for money, rrp £6.99 but I got through scholastic for £1.99.