I am always pleased and of course intrigued when I find a children's book which begins with "If." For me this is the essence of a child's tale and to be quite frank, I worry about children (and I must admit, adults too), that are not constantly asking themselves and others, "What If." In the case of the work being reviewed here we have the writer, Eric Pinder teamed with the very talented Marc Brown (Think the Arthur Adventure Book series and PBS series "Arthur," and I cannot think of two men better qualified to ask this question...and then give us the answer!
"If all the animals came inside,
my brother would cry. My sister would hide.
The doggy would bark. The kitten would hiss.
My parents would make funny faces - like this! (Picture very alarmed looking parents)
But I wouldn't look for a place to hide.
I'd climb aboard for an elephant ride."
And then think about it! Hippos, beaver, monkeys, lions, giraffes, foxes, cows, pandas, skunks, bears, porcupines, cheetahs, storks, octopus, zebras and more...oh my!
"When all the animals wanted to play,
they'd grab all my toys. They'd take them away!
Upstairs and downstairs and out in the hall,
the chipmunks would draw with my paint on the wall.
The walls would tremble. The crayons would break.
Oh, what a terrible mess they would make!"
The cadence of the rhyme used is not only cute but despite the subject matter, id actually rather soothing. The situations depicted with each couplet range from amusingly alarming (in a nice way) to giggle out loud hilarious.
And then we have the artwork - the illustrations. These are all accomplished using a collage format. Now I use this method from time to time but I must admit to you right up front that it is not normally my favorite technique for children's books as much that I see is either too surrealistic or simply overdone to the point that the young child will sort of go into sensory overload. Not so in this chase! The artist has used it extremely effectively. Not sure how Brown pulled it off, but pull it off he did. I must tell you that I was captivated by it and each time I read the book I picked up something new that simply popped out at me. Color, shape, movement and diversity...it is all there and blends in a wonderful way illustrating the thoughts of the little boy telling the story perfectly. Burp, Crunch, Phew, Whew, Ick, Eww, Thump, Rhump, Ban, Bump...between the rhymes we have big bold onomatopoetic words scattered about and used to wonderful effect, and these large words visually blend perfectly with the quirky art. This is all very impressive.
But is it just me - a sort of adult that likes this work? Nope! I read this work to three different groups of children...a jaded bunch of little rascals with extremely high literary demands. I can report to you that in each case I was asked for a second reading; indeed, a third reading by one group. Hey, the kids loved this one!
The format in this books is very workable and the binding is top of the line...this book should be able to take a lot of abuse and still be in shape to pass down to the grandkids.
This is an almost perfect one on one read or a group read and would make a wonderful bedtimes story for both boys and girls...actually, I could recommend this one for big kids too.
on June 11, 2012
If All the Animals Came Inside was a hit from the moment it entered our house. Already a fan of Eric Pinder's first children's book, The Cat in the Clouds, my toddler was thrilled to have something new from her favorite author. She spontaneously recites the bouncy refrain whenever the mood strikes her, and that mood is always joyful. A MUST for any child.
on May 17, 2012
It is all fun and games to have animals in the house, but the minute you wish to watch television or play with your own toys the fun ends. So goes the day when you invite the animals to come in and play.
A cute story about how not everything is as fun as it first seems, mom and dad are mad and your sister hides, but the panda and elephants are having fun.
A nice book that allows your young one to giggle along at the antics of animals in the house, and to learn that not all ideas are as fun as they first seem.
on January 9, 2013
My wife is a preschool teach and I purchased this book for her to read in class. She says she always knows within the first sentence of the book if it will be a hit. This book was a big hit. The kids loved it. As soon as she started reading this book to her classes, they became quiet, paid attention through the whole book, then came up with their own examples and ideas of "what if all the animals came inside". They noticed the little picture of Arthur on one of the pages. Great book for preschoolers.
on May 11, 2012
A hilarious laugh out loud read for kids! Can you imagine what would happen with the animals came inside? When you pick up this fun read you'll find out just the kind of mess they're make. Believe me, it's a big one! The rhyming, and colorful illustrations make for this book a delightfully enticing read for fans of all ages.