The Tiger Who Came To Tea (reprise)

Next Wednesday my wife is going out carousing, but she got the dates muddled up and thought it was tonight, so she got dressed up and legged it with me supervising the children, until she realised when she was down at the shops buying wine that she’d got things wrong. Still, I need the practice so I told her to stay out and enjoy herself.
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Pete The Cat And His Four Groovy Buttons

This was a book I chose for La Serpiente at the library a couple of weeks ago. It stars Pete, a real hep cat with a coat with four groovy buttons. As the story goes on, the groovy buttons pop off his coat one by one and roll away. But does Pete get upset? Goodness no! He just sings his song. [That is the entire plot – sorry, I should have flagged spoilers.]

And more buttons pop off. I think La Serpiente had this book read to her at most twice in the last two weeks, but when she chose it today it quickly became clear that she’d memorised the whole thing. She even got the singular of “buttons” when we got down to the last one, rather than sing about “one buttons”, so I was at once astounded and pleased at this. Either she can now read, or (more likely) this is her second go at pretending to be able to read by just applying mimicry to human conversation. Well done, girl.
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Fish is Fish

Fish is Fish is the slightly melancholy, cautionary tale of what happens if you have too much confidence and curiousity, and friends from a different species. As such, I’m not sure of its suitability for bedtime stories. 

The book begins with two friends, a minnow and a tadpole, sadly driven apart as the tadpole begins to transform into a frog. His chum doesn’t believe this, claiming “fish is fish” in a possible nod to Wittgenstein’s view of tautology in language. The frog deserts the pond, only to return later with stories of birds, cows and people. 

Impressed, the fish wants to see these wonders for himself, leaps out of the pond, almost dies and is rescued by the frog, who hauls him back underwater, “the most beautiful place of all”.

So: never explore. Never hope for something new. Stay exactly where you started in life and don’t try to change. If you’re a fish, that is. Frogs are different to you. 

All rather bleak, isn’t it? Still, La Serpiente chose to read it, so maybe it satisfies her at some level. And the illustrations are very pleasant. 

Double Trouble In Walla Walla

Double Trouble In Walla Walla was first published in 1997, so it’s taken me almost 19 years to get around to it. I must admit that my selection of it was entirely opportune, borne out of the distraction that comes when your three-and-a-half-year-old is urinating over you in a public library, and you’re not consciously aware of this, just of an awful stench and a repulsive warmth spreading from your midriff as she clings to you. But enough of my Christmas Eve, let’s talk Double Trouble.
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Mr Wayne’s Masterpiece

At long last, La Serpiente and I seem to have reached agreement on what a suitable book for bedtime is. No more arguments over whether we’ll read Fantastic Mr Fox or not. No more parents reduced to tears by Love You Forever. Instead, a thin hardback book that was chosen either by me or by Destroyer on our excursion to the library has turned out to be this week’s smash hit.
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Pony Scouts: At The Show

In addition to the vomit-inducing Backhoe Joe, La Serpiente has been making me read Pony Scouts: At The Show, a level 2 reading book ("High-interest stories for developing readers" according to the blurb.) While I’m allergic to horses, we can be fairly confident that the book isn’t making my daughter sick, as she made me read it on Sunday night without any ill-effects.
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