Animal Antics by Neil Griffiths and Janette Louden
|Animal Antics by Neil Griffiths and Janette Louden|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: An interesting idea, that will help get young kids in the mood for the Olympics. However, the text isn't appropriately pitched at picture book fans, and so the idea doesn't achieve its full potential.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 36||Date: March 2012|
|Publisher: Red Robin Books|
|External links: Author's website|
It's the run-up to World Sport Week. Thanks to a rules challenge (presumably by a lawyer bird), animals are to be admitted for the first time. With much flapping of wings and clattering of hooves, the animals proceed to turn this Olympics-esque event into a whitewash for the non-human competitors.
Animal Antics has a strong core idea, and is a great way to give little kids a taste of the Olympic spirit. However, it doesn't always hit the right notes. It's very definitely overwritten, both in terms of volume of text and the vocabulary used. There aren't - with good reason - many picture books that use the phrase organisational issues as a punchline.
The quirkiness of the story would have leant itself well to rhymes, which might keep things contained. Having chosen straight prose instead, unfortunately, it's too loose and sprawling to really click with young book fans. That said, some bright and newly confident readers might well enjoy having it read to them as a treat.
Janette Louden's illustrations are perfectly pleasant, but given that the core idea is laden with such fun, one wonders how much more zingy it could have been if she'd really let her hair down. The potential is there to have really made the little 'uns giggle.
Animal Antics isn't far off being a broad recommendation. It would certainly benefit from punchier text, but the premise will please some little ones enough, especially if they've been (quite rightly) bombarded with sport all summer.
For other books featuring exciting animal antics, take a look at Zebedee's Zoo by Giles Milton and Katharine McEwen or A Very Strange Creature by Ronda Armitage and Layn Marlow.
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