I’m a sucker for a book with rhyming couplets.
Rhyme offers so much opportunity to explore the written word in children’s books – archaic and dated words fit right into the flow of text, alongside nonsense terms and odd turns of phrase. In short, anything goes. Get the rhythm right and the rest will follow, children are sure to love a book that rhymes.
This book caught my eye in WHSmiths during one of my regular lunchtime strolls at work, and I decided to give it a read, sucked in by the triple rhyme in the title, and the furious mouse on the cover image. What’s his story?
It’s a simple book – but the simplicity is what makes it so excellent. Collins writes in rhyming couplets using only ‘Air’ words, and the result is quite delightful.
The story has a childish humour running through it that adults and children alike are bound to enjoy. A poor little mouse discovers a selfish polar bear sitting in his favourite chair, which simply is too small to share. The poor little mouse attempts all sorts of amusing tactics to shoo the bear (to make him go back to his lair), he gives him quite a nasty glare, he tries to tempt him with a pear, he jumps out in his underwear, but nothing works. The bear just simply does not care. You get the picture.
In the end, the mouse gives up, being driven to the end of his tiny mouse tether by this big troublesome bear. He leaves his house, distraught and beaten, to find a new place to rest.
Once the mouse has gone, the bear, of course, gets up and walks home.
Here we find the delightful twist in the tail.
I confess, I laughed. I laughed loud, and insisted that my colleagues give the book a read. Waiting patiently for the satisfied chuckle I knew was coming once they reached the end of the book.
It’s simple, but clever, and I really didn’t see it coming.
This book would be perfect for sharing with children, to help foster a love of reading from a young age. It’s no ‘Cat in the Hat’, or ‘Green Eggs and Ham’, but it does have a vaguely Dr Seuss-esque feel to it, in style, substance, and illustration – a winning combination that truly represents the power of the written word.