On the east coast of Tasmania where the world's sunshine is doled out in full measure, there stands a gaunt, solid house of stone. Pine trees protect...moreOn the east coast of Tasmania where the world's sunshine is doled out in full measure, there stands a gaunt, solid house of stone. Pine trees protect it on three sides from wind and sea breezes; the fourth side faces the sea.
So begins A Fortune for the Brave, where we are introduced first to the house called Fipwood and then its occupants, the four Gogud children and their mother, the nice but vague and clueless Myrtle. Once a large estate, the land has been sold off and Fipwood, originally built by convicts, is shabby and becoming run-down. The Gogud children - handsome Lloyd who thinks very highly of himself; pretty but sour-tempered Gina; smarty-pants Prosper and the youngest, Theodore, or "Tacky" as he's called, who follows where Pros leads - have a new plan for the summer holidays. Lloyd has learned that the survivor of a well-known shipwreck off the coast, an old Dane called Olaf, hid some treasure from the Rua Rua on one of the small islands there. The only person Olaf told was Dr Trivett, after the good doctor saved his life.
Dr Trivett is dead now, but his son is alive and well, an orphan living in England under the care of guardians. They hope that this son, Huon Trivett, has, amongst his father's things, a map to the treasure - in a delirious state, elderly Olaf told Lloyd where to find the treasure, but not which island it's on. They busily formulate a plan that consists of enlisting their friend, Ernest Seward, who's friends with Jacko Burlington who sails his father's yacht, and decide on a time to go looking for the treasure and a way of keeping their mother occupied while they're gone.
In England, Huon Trivett has finished school with failing grades and has no real plans or ideas of what to do with himself next. The arrival of Mr Seward, neighbour of the Goguds and prosperous landowner and sheep farmer, on the houseboat on the River Thames where Huon lives with Mark and Phoebe Writhen, is a surprise to all, as is his offer of employment to Huon. Mr Seward likes the look of young Huon and downplays his aunt Myrtle's invitation to stay at Fipwood ("I rather doubt whether he would fit into that household for long") while offering him the post of jackaroo at Cottlestone instead. In fact, Huon can have his seat on the plane headed to Australia, as Mr Seward's wife and his daughter, Barbara, want him to accompany them on their own European tour by steamer.
Huon accepts the offer, and accepts the invitation to stay at Fipwood until Mr Seward returns around Christmastime. He's a good-natured, friendly lad and is taken aback by the unwelcoming - nay, cold and hostile reception from his cousins. His aunt is affable and welcoming but has no idea what her children get up to, only thinks the world of them and would like to offer them better opportunities in life. Huon brings with him his father's journal, which does indeed contain a map of treasure and a description of the island where it's located, ending with the words "A fortune for the brave, but have I the courage--" Huon, aware that his cousins have asked after the map via Barbara Seward, offers to show it to Gina, but Gina is so put out and hostile that she pretends they don't need it, only to sneak into his room later and try to find it.
Thanks to his unfriendly reception at Fipwood, Huon goes exploring and discovers their neighbour, Jimmy Stone. Jimmy, a lad his own age, lives with his Scottish mother and his uncle, "Unk", in a small cottage nearby. Jimmy's passion is beekeeping, and he teaches Huon all about keeping bees, different kinds of bees and grades of honey. Huon spends many a happy day helping Jimmy with his bees, but it isn't until he learns from Mr Burlington, a lawyer, that he's inherited an island owned by his father that he's galvanised into action and a desire to thwart his cousins' plans to the treasure.
For Huon, though, the real treasure is the island itself, and what it means to him to have a home, and dreams, and a plan for the future. A fortune for the brave, indeed.
Nan Chauncy ("Chauncy" to rhyme with "Nancy") is a well-known Tasmanian children's writer from the last century, who died in 1970. Born in England in 1900, she migrated to Australia in 1912 and went on to write 14 children's books, among them They Found a Cave (1948) and Devil's Hill (1958) - which (along with other novels) was made into a film called Devil's Mountain which I remember watching (and loving) in primary school. In fact, I've never been able to forget it and I've always wanted to read one of her books. This lovely old edition is my mother's, who's had it since Christmas 1960, and knowing my interest in Australian (and Tasmanian) literature and my efforts this month to read Aussie books for AusReading Month, she lent it to me.
It's always very interesting, to me, to see how much the English language and writing styles have changed over the decades. Originally written for children (which would have included teens - "Young Adult" being a relatively recent publishing niche), I think kids and teens today would have a bit of a hard time reading this. As an adult, I found it took a while to get into the style, which is distinctly "old-fashioned" and very much grounded in the period it was written in. Makes you realise how, in historical fiction today, authors don't really recreate the way people would have spoken "back then" because we would struggle to read it! But by no means do I want to give the impression that the writing is old-fashioned in the sense of being formal, or restrained, or - god forbid - dull. It is full of humour, rich in atmosphere and setting, and alive with realistic characters and believable adventure.
The Gogud children are really quite horrid. There's no other word that fits them better than "horrid". Lloyd is vain and superior, and puts the charm on thick when he wants something - Huon dislikes the fakery and it really does put you off him. Gina, only slightly older than Huon, has been soured from living in a remote, isolated house and having to manage so much of its upkeep - she dreams of owning a fashionable dress and being seen. Prosper is a real piece of work, having brains but no outlet except to cause mischief. Tacky has the makings of a nice kid, since he's young enough not to be fixed, but with no father-figure and an older brother who takes advantage of him, he's just as problematic. Yet they work together well - they really only have each other, after all, and they're "thick as thieves", as the saying goes. Very loyal to each other, no matter what. And they harbour great pretensions: pretension to wealth and status that their current situation cannot support.
Huon is very different. He's extremely likeable, and is a wonderful bridge to his world for the modern reader. He sees things differently from the locals, and his observations and thoughts are peppered with insights that we can relate to, like in this scene as he tours Cottlestone with Mr Seward's eldest son, Neal:
'What's this - like a dark smudge over here?' 'Ah, that's the Plantation. That's Dad's great pride - pine trees to make a breakwind, you know, and for timber!' 'It looks as though you cleared out the native trees and then planted pine trees in their place?' exclaimed Hu. Neal saw nothing strange in this and agreed without a smile. 'That's right. Now, we'll hop in the utility and I'll take you a run round and you'll see everything. The shearing shed is almost new - electric machines and all the latest gadgets.' [p.78]
Huon is a wonderful hero and a great character, but it's when he's with Jimmy Stone that he really comes to life - and it's quite possible that Jimmy is the real scene-stealer here. When we first meet Jimmy, he appears to Huon as an old bearded man - except that the hair on his head is fair and the beard, which comes down to mid-chest, is black. As he comes closer, Huon realises that the beard is actually made up entirely of bees! Jimmy is, it turns out, moving his "swarm" of bees, and has a camera ready to go to take a photo of it for the picture prize offered by the apiarists' magazine that he reads (three quid for a photo of bees swarming in an unusual place). Huon takes the photos and so begins their friendship. The two characters play off each other wonderfully, and Jimmy's enthusiasm for bees is catching.
As is Chauncy's enthusiasm for her local setting. Having grown up in Tasmania, it resonated with me on a deeply personal level, but even without that connection, her descriptions and sense of place are vivid. The east coast of Tasmania isn't just a setting, it's very much an intricate part of the story. For me, it came with deeper layers of unspoken meaning, things left unsaid but discernible to, perhaps, local readers or anyone with an ear to it. Issues of colonisation, white settlement and the noticeably absent Aborigines flirt with the narrative, as do themes of class and family dynamics. Huon, an orphan, barely remembers his parents, who died in England during World War II. His Tasmanian family will never be friends, but it is through the unexpected inheritance of an island that Huon at last connects with his dead father, and finds a kind of home, or sense of place.
This is something I felt I could relate to - not inheriting an island, nor am I an orphan - but the homecoming, that I can distinctly relate to. I also loved the presence of bees and beekeeping, as I love bees, especially honey bees, and wouldn't mind learning beekeeping myself one day. As an adventure story, it was often exciting but not relentlessly so; it worked up to a gripping climax and show-down between Huon and his cousins; and naturally it doesn't follow a neat, straight line. There's a bit of mystery, there's clue-hunting, there's the play of friends-and-enemies, and ultimately it's a genuine coming-of-age story for Huon.
When my brother (who is five years younger than me) was little, he had this book - a much earlier edition, of course, with slightly different illustra...moreWhen my brother (who is five years younger than me) was little, he had this book - a much earlier edition, of course, with slightly different illustrations (different compositions, some of the details are different). I loved it, as I loved so many of his picture books, so I was full of excited nostalgia to read it again - and introduce it to my boy.
It's Christmas morning. Morris is a young rabbit with three older siblings: Victor, Rose and Betty. Victor gets a hockey outfit for Christmas. Rose gets a beauty kit, and Betty gets a chemistry set. Morris gets a bear. Victor, Rose and Betty have lots of fun with their presents, and when they've had a turn they switch:
All Christmas day Victor played hockey and Rose made herself beautiful and Betty mixed acids.
And then Betty made herself beautiful and Victor sorted test tubes and Rose played left wing.
And then Victor made himself beautiful and Betty played goalie and Rose invented a new gas.
Morris wants to play, too, but they say he's too young and too little and too silly to play with their things - and no one wants Morris's bear. His parents try to console him but he sulks and won't join them at dinner. While they're eating, Morris notices an overlooked present under the tree. In it is a disappearing bag. Morris climbs in side and disappears. His siblings can't find him anywhere, but when he comes out they all want a turn.
Victor, Rose and Betty all disappear inside the bag, and Morris plays with the hockey gear, the chemistry set and the beauty kit until bedtime.
This is one of my favourite picture books, and I'm so glad it's still in print. It's one that really makes me laugh, with jokes that I got as a kid and still delight me as an adult (I just love the line, "and Rose invented a new gas"; there are others just as funny). As one of the younger kids in my family, I could certainly identify with Morris who has older, more sophisticated siblings who won't let him play with their sophisticated toys. And I could certainly relate to Morris when he sits in the corner, sulking, and then crawls into a bag to disappear.
At its heart, it is of course partly about sharing, and being nice to people. But like all good picture books, it's so much more than basic messaging. The illustrations are really engaging too, not precise or too realistic, but bold and colourful and with a hint of childlike two-dimensional simplicity. I don't want that to sound in the slightest way negative. It's interesting, actually, comparing this contemporary edition with my brother's older version, and seeing how much Wells' illustrations have been fine-tuned and improved. The style is the same, but the lines are more confident and the composition better. Paired with the engaging story, this is truly a delightful book.
Incidentally, I remember back in Toronto on the kids' cartoon channel (what was it called, Treefrog? something like that) there was a cartoon that I didn't like very much, about two rabbit siblings called Ruby and Max. It was only while I was looking up this book that I learned the cartoon is based on other books about those two characters by Rosemary Wells. I should have recognised the style of drawing, but I had forgotten all about this book until I had it in my hands again just recently.(less)
I went walking. What did you see? I saw a black cat Looking at me.
I went walking. What did you see? I saw a brown horse Looking at me.
The difference here is that it's about a little kid - boy or girl, who knows and who cares? - wandering about a farm, and all the animals are ones you'd find there and are realistic colours. The animals keep following the child and on the very last page is a drawing of them all dancing together. It's very sweet!
My two-year-old really likes this one, and it'd be great with younger toddlers and one-year-olds too. It's good for animal and colour vocab and Julie Vivas's beautiful watercolour illustrations are so lovely (I think of her as Mem Fox's illustrator, because as a kid they always seemed to work together - Possum Magic, Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge for example - so whenever I see Vivas illustrations I think I've found a Mem Fox book!).(less)
This story has the feel of an old fable - the kind of story brought over by your grandparents when they immigrated - but it is in fact made up by the...moreThis story has the feel of an old fable - the kind of story brought over by your grandparents when they immigrated - but it is in fact made up by the author, Tomie dePaola, and first published in 1975. It reads like a fairy-tale, of the classical kind, and has strong moral messages - ones about how you reap what you sow, and going behind someone's back, and meddling in what you don't understand, and being greedy, and so on.
Part of what gives it that old-world (read: old-Europe) feel are the wonderful illustrations, also by dePaola, which somehow remind me of stained-glass windows.
Strega Nona is an old lady who lives in the town of Calabria, a long time ago. The name, "strega nona", means "Grandma Witch", and Strega Nona helps the local townspeople with their troubles - even the priests and nuns of the nearby convent, because she has such a magical touch.
She advertises for someone to help her around the house and garden, and soon employs Big Anthony, a strong young man who doesn't pay attention. He's very helpful, but when he hears Strega Nona saying a magic spell over her pasta pot, he gets greedy. Strega Nona has a magic pasta pot, and when she says the right words, it produces a potful of pasta ready to eat. She must say certain words to make it stop, too, and bow three kisses, but Big Anthony doesn't pay attention and doesn't hear that part.
When Strega Nona goes away to see her friend, Strega Amelia, she leaves Big Anthony in charge, with the stringent warning not to touch the pasta pot. But of course, as soon as she's gone, Big Anthony goes and tells everyone in the town about the pasta pot. They don't believe him, so he decides to show them. Only, once the pasta pot has started producing pasta and everyone has had a bowlful, he can't get it to stop. Soon, pasta is overflowing and rushing out the door and flooding the town. It's a disaster, and only the arrival of Strega Nona can fix it - and she has the perfect punishment for Big Anthony.
I have vague memories of reading this as a kid, and it really holds its own well. I love the illustrations, and the story too, which is both fun and meaningful. It's one for older children, around five or six, but certainly any child would enjoy this tale.(less)
The third collection of Curious George stories that I got for my son, who was quite addicted to the Curious George books for a while there, is this on...moreThe third collection of Curious George stories that I got for my son, who was quite addicted to the Curious George books for a while there, is this one, The New Adventures of Curious George. I'm quite glad he no longer wants to read them constantly, as they are hard to read as an adult - I don't mean that they're difficult stories, but that the way they're written really makes you sleepy. Kids love these stories, and they teach them a lot, but unlike so many other picture books or stories, Curious George stories don't really have anything in them for adults.
The stories in this collection are: Curious George and the Chocolate Factory Curious George and the Puppies Curious George Makes Pancakes Curious George Feeds the Animals Curious George Goes to a Movie Curious George and the Hot Air Balloon Curious George in the Snow Curious George's Dream
We have Curious George and the Puppies as a standalone, too, so I've read that one countless times now! Curious George is perfect reading for two-year-olds, and I'm sure will be great when my boy starts reading on his own too. The stories are composed of simple sentences, include some complicated long words, and also utilise the illustrations to fill in the gaps. Curious George stories are like using training wheels. And he's a playful, curious, mischievous monkey that kids really enjoy reading about. It's quite amazing what this little monkey gets up to!(less)
My two-year-old son Hugh's on-going love - nay, obsession - with "the George book" continues. This is the second book of collected stories I've added...moreMy two-year-old son Hugh's on-going love - nay, obsession - with "the George book" continues. This is the second book of collected stories I've added to his ever-expanding library (I have one more to give him, which I'm saving for our 21-hour-long plane ride as a surprise!), and he quickly embraced it with just as much love as he did Curious George: Stories to Share (the yellow one).
The stories in this volume are: Curious George Takes a Train (2002) Curious George Visits a Toy Store (2002) Curious George and the Dump Truck (1999) Curious George and the Birthday Surprise (2003) Curious George Goes Camping (1999) Curious George Goes to a Costume Party (2001) Curious George Visits the Library (2003) Curious George in the Big City (2001)
Again, I don't really know/understand who exactly wrote these stories, which are based on Margret and HA Rey's character, and the illustrators are all different, but for as much as adults (including myself and my husband) get incredibly weary of reading these stories over and over again, I have at least realised and come to appreciate the value Hugh is getting from them. Part of the reason why we don't enjoy reading these stories is that the text is rather tiresome, quite slow and sometimes even a bit ridiculous or awkward.
But I realised fairly recently that the text also covers some serious grammatical ground. All the tenses are included, there are lots of variations on the way you can say something, there are expressions and common phrases that are very much a part of the English language, and all this great language teaching is wrapped up in a rather charming but naïve little monkey's antics - a character small children can really relate to as he often gets into trouble or makes a mess without meaning to, and people are angry with him sometimes but he's also helpful and shows how you can make up for your mistakes. He's small and doesn't understand everything about his (human) world, just like toddlers and other young children, and he just needs some space to figure things out. Curious George is the superhero-like character for young children, as in he fills that role until they grow out of him and turn to Batman etc. (Other picture book characters can fill this role too, of course. Curious George is the one my own son has connected with.)
So I try not to begrudge my boy the pleasure of George stories, even though I tend to go on auto-pilot when I read them and can actually compartmentalise my mind so that while one half of me is reading aloud the way I always do, with inflection and good pacing etc., the rest of me is thinking about completely different things. The text seems so bad to adults but it does serve a purpose, and for the most part it successfully connects the dots between the lively illustrations and the imaginations of a young audience.(less)
This was given to Hugh when he was born, a gift from friends of my husband's parents (I only know/remember this because they inscribed the book, somet...moreThis was given to Hugh when he was born, a gift from friends of my husband's parents (I only know/remember this because they inscribed the book, something I wish more people would do when they give books as gifts!), and up until that moment I had completely forgotten all about this story. It came back to me quickly when I saw the distinctive illustrations and read the story again after all these years. I read it quite a lot as a kid, I loved it so. It's a sad story, yet positive too.
First published in 1939, it speaks to the change of eras, the death of the old and the celebration of shiny new things. Mike Mulligan is a construction worker who, along with his steam shovel (a steam-powered excavator) called Mary Anne, has dug canals, and cut through mountains for railways, and levelled hills for highways. He's always been sure that Mary Anne "could dig as much in a day as a hundred men could dig in a week, but he had never been quite sure that this was true."
But then it gets harder to get new jobs because of "the new gasoline shovels and the new electric shovels and the new Diesel motor shovels" that were taking over. Mike didn't want to sell Mary Anne for junk like all the other steam shovel drivers were dong. "Mike loved Mary Anne. He couldn't do that to her." He had taken good care of her but no one wanted them anymore. Then they hear that the nearby town of Popperville was going to build a new town hall, so they head over and offer their services. Mike makes a deal with one of the selectmen, that if they can dig the cellar in a day they get paid, but if they don't they won't.
Mike and Mary Anne start the next day as the sun is coming up, and they work super fast. As more and more people gather to watch, Mary Anne digs faster and faster. They manage to dig the cellar in a day - a job that would have taken a hundred men a week to do - but then realise that there's no way to get Mary Anne out of the hole she's finished digging. A little boy has a bright idea: why not leave her in the cellar and build the town hall above her? "Let her be the furnace for the new town hall," he says. So that's what they do, and Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne live in the cellar and everyone goes to visit them and tell stories.
Even as a kid I found this story sad, even a bit depressing, though I also loved it and kept coming back to it (I may have been a girl, but I was more interested in cars and tractors and things like that, than dolls - in fact, I had no interest in dolls at all, especially those horrid baby ones that wee when you feed them, I thought that was a useless, boring idea for a doll and I didn't like the way toy companies were trying to make my into a mummy at the age of four! Yes, I really did think that when I was little). Even the illustrations ratchet-up the nostalgia factor, not just because they're 30s style (and the details clearly show that in-between-eras problem, with cars alongside horse-drawn wagons), but because the picture of the town hall being built above Mary Anne and Mike Mulligan looks an awful lot like a prison. Or a cage. Or a museum exhibit. Perhaps the latter, and intentionally so.
There's a lot of text to this story, but two-year-olds can sit through it (prepare to be interrupted by a lot of questions that are hard to answer, though!). Older kids, kindergarten age and older, would get more out of the story but there's lots here for younger ones to enjoy too. Bit too long and involved for the attention span of a kid younger than two though. (less)
We have quite a few ABC books in the house now, but I don't think any of them are quite as fun to read as this one - certainly not with the younger re...moreWe have quite a few ABC books in the house now, but I don't think any of them are quite as fun to read as this one - certainly not with the younger readers anyway. Seuss doesn't go for the usual pattern of picking one thing for each letter; no, he has to include silly rhymes and even some made-up words too, paired with his trademark slightly-unrealistic illustrations. A sample:
BIG A, little a, what begins with A?
Aunt Annie's alligator. A...a...A
BIG F, little f what begins with F?
Four fluffy feathers on a Fiffer-feffer-feff.
BIG O, little o, what begins with O?
Ostrich, oil, orange owl. O...o...O
BIG Y, little y, what begins with Y?
A yawning yellow yak with Yolanda on his back.
There's some variety, not all the rhymes follow the same exact format, but they all start the same way and most end with the letters again. Writing the alphabet this way does make for a fairly long read, though, and so far the kids (recently turned or turning 2) get a bit restless and distracted before the end. But there's some good vocabulary here (and not too many made-up words) and you can get them to name the things in the pictures, too.(less)
If There's A Wocket in My Pocket was full of made-up words for rhyme's sake, Hop On Pop is full of couplings for rhymes sake. The first pages go:
"UP...moreIf There's A Wocket in My Pocket was full of made-up words for rhyme's sake, Hop On Pop is full of couplings for rhymes sake. The first pages go:
"UP PUP Pup is up.
CUP PUP Pup in cup.
PUP CUP Cup on pup."
It pretty much follows that format all the way through, and I have to say, they aren't the easiest rhymes to say! Some of them are absolute tongue twisters, which I think was deliberate.
What's cool about it is how it's a grammar book in disguise. The kids I read this too are young toddlers, busy constructing simple sentences and learning vocabulary and prepositions, so this is quite timely I think. It shows all the different combinations - paired with Seuss's trademark lively illustrations - that you can make with a couple of simple words.
Things happen, too. Like the ball players who fall off the wall, or little Jim biting the creature's tail, or Pat the bear sitting on a cat - and then a cactus. And of course there's Pop (father? Grandfather? It's an old-fashioned word that I feel the need to explain every time!), whose two little kids (or grandkids) are jumping on like a trampoline and he gets very angry. The kids - mine, not the ones in the book - find this all very fascinating, quite funny and ask a lot of questions. All of which makes for a great book!(less)
I think this book and Seuss's Cat in the Hat are his two most famous books, and I'm pretty sure this is one (maybe the only one) I did read as a kid.
F...moreI think this book and Seuss's Cat in the Hat are his two most famous books, and I'm pretty sure this is one (maybe the only one) I did read as a kid.
For the adult reader (reading aloud to kids, no doubt), it's a repetitive, long, and obvious book: Sam offers some green eggs and ham to his grumpy older friend (who remains nameless), and this friend gets angrier and angrier the more Sam tries to convince him to try them (and you can't blame the angry one: green eggs and ham? Sounds utterly disgusting, like they've gone off or something). Until finally he does try eating it, and discovers that he does like them after all.
It's enlivened by the silliness of Sam's suggestions: would you eat them in a box with a fox, or in the dark, or with a goat. The wording does change, going through the various grammatical options: would you, could you, will not, could not, do not like etc. It's a surprisingly entertaining battle of wills and for as obvious as the message is, it's a message that all parents spend a great deal of time and energy getting across to their kids ("Try it! Just try it, how do you know you don't like it until you try it?!"), so it's always nice to have a popular book reinforce it.(less)
Another Seuss book I'd never read before! I wasn't completely sure, but once I started reading it I knew I'd never heard the story before. Didn't even...moreAnother Seuss book I'd never read before! I wasn't completely sure, but once I started reading it I knew I'd never heard the story before. Didn't even recognise the pictures (always my fall-back on the sketchy memory! My image recognition is probably the stronger part of my memory).
The story is simple enough: one day, mum leaves the her two kids ("Sally and I") at home while she goes out. It's a cold, wet day, and the boy and the girl start wondering what to do with their time other than sit at the window, watching the rain. Then into their house walked the Cat in the Hat!
The Cat in the Hat has lots of ideas for fun things to do inside. He knows tricks, like balancing the fishbowl on his umbrella (ignoring the fish's explicit instructions to be put down, and that he must leave). The Cat in the Hat proceeds to balance all sorts of multiple household objects until, of course, it all comes crashing down, leaving a big, big mess.
But the Cat in the Hat isn't done, no he has a new idea. He brings in a big red wooden box, inside of which are two Things: Thing One and Thing Two (they look like miniature, blue-hared people wearing red jumpsuits - though the colours could just be because the only colours in the illustrations are blue and red!). The Things start to fly kites in the house, causing even more mess, and the fish is by this point getting extremely irate and anxious - as are the two children.
And then they see their mother coming up the front path! The boy catches the Things with his fishing net, and they emphatically tell the Cat in the Hat to leave. The cat is saddened that they don't like his games, and does, finally, leave, only to return moments later with a strange machine with which he cleans up all the mess just in time for their mother to walk in. Phew! Close call.
The text follows the usual Seuss style (I think, in fact, that this was his first children's book, so maybe I should say that his other books follow this style!), with absurdities, fun rhymes and a lot of repetition. He's quite fond of "should" and "would" and "could" and "I do not", or so it seems when you read this one alongside Green Eggs and Ham. So far I've only read it once so I have no further impressions to impart, and I think my two-year-old might be a bit young for it yet.(less)