Thursday 6 June 2013

Andy G, Terry D, the Brave Tea-Lady and the Evil Bee

Andy G, Terry D, the Brave Tea-Lady and the Evil Bee by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton (Pan Macmillan Australia, 2013)
PB RRP $6.99
Reviewed by Di Bates

Teachers trying to get young children to learn how to read love books like this latest contribution by the Griffiths and Denton team. In the style of Dr Seuss, the book is written in verse with strong rhythm and regular rhyme. The focus is on the sound that ‘ee’ makes, with words like ‘lady,’ ‘tree’, ‘free,’ ‘enemy’ and ‘me’ showing the young reader how many words with this sound can rhyme.

The story is one with which young children are familiar – the chase scenario. A bee sees a child and begins a pursuit. A second person – Terry D – gets involved in the race to flee the bee and thereafter follows a lady selling tea. Up a tree they go followed by the bee; luckily the lady manages to trap the bee in her tea pot so all ends well.

The illustrations are typical of Denton’s cartoon style with lots of movement from one page to the next as the pursuit continues. There is lots of white space which children love in the book and the cover, despite its very long title, is attractive and zany.

At the front of the book is a photograph of Denton with his mop of blonde, curly hair grabbing a resigned Griffith in a bear hug: it’s zany and sets the tone for this book which should appeal to readers from five years and up. A special feature of the book is the back page of coloured covers showing all of Griffith’s books which are so popular with children, including The Cat on the Mat is Flat and The Big Fat Cow that Goes Kapow, two more books which seem designed to help the new or struggling reader. Doubtless the publisher is on a winner with this book series.

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