Wednesday, 8 February 2012

TILLY & BILLIE'S PICTUREBOOK CORNER: Super-Duper Dudley and Cuddle Bear

Tilly and Billy’s Picture Book Corner: Super-Duper Dudley by Sue Mongredien and Caroline Pedler and Cuddle Bear by Claire Freedman and Gavin Scott

Now I haven't reviewed many picture books on here, because as far as I know I don’t have any children, only kittens. Kittens whose response to being read to is to violently chew the edge of the book.

But as so many picture books are rather GREAT, what I thought I’d do is have a go at reviewing them and then pass them onto children (and update the reviews with any new thoughts from that).

I was very kindly sent two new picture books from Little Tiger Press.

Super-Duper Dudley – Sue Mongredien (author) and Caroline Pedler (illustrator)
Cuddle Bear – Claire Freedman (author) and Gavin Scott (illustrator)

Super-Duper Dudley – Sue Mongredien (author) and Caroline Pedler (illustrator) 
 Little Tiger Press
1 Jan 2012

Super-Duper Dudley is a book all about Dudley – and that’s how he would like it. Dudley is a show-off (and also a dog) who is always performing for his friends – he rides his bike with no handlebars, he …, and he laps up all the praise – especially from his friend Bonzo. But then it turns out Bonzo has a talent and everyone is watching him for a change. Dudley needs to pull off the performance of a megastar – or should he just learn to share the spotlight? 

This book is full of character and is a lovely take on the familiar idea of showing off. Readers may know a few Dudleys in real life and will enjoy recognising the behaviour. It manages to get across the message that Dudley should stand back and let others have a go from time to time without being preachy. And while I may have sided with the underdog, Bonzo, I enjoyed Dudley’s megastar antics and didn’t find him annoying. 

There is a mix of panels and full-page spreads, so that the panels focus on Dudley and build the story to the big performance moments, which are full of energy and colour and different characters for readers to look at. Overall: a big, bold and funny delight! 

Cuddle Bear – Claire Freedman (author) and Gavin Scott (illustrator) 
Little Tiger Press
1 Jan 2012

Whether you’re a lonely penguin or a misunderstood lion, everyone needs a visit from Cuddle Bear every now and again. The hug-you-happy bear travels through the pages cheering up animals and spreading cuddle-shaped joy.

Reading this book is like a big hug. It makes you feel heart-warmed and happy and a bit like you want to go round cuddling people (probably best just to stick to people you know).The simple pattern of a sad animal on one page, and then the hug with Cuddle Bear on the next page is delightful and comforting – and mirrored in Claire Freedman’s rhyming text, which reads like a song.

The soft, warm colours in Gavin Scott’s (very cute) illustrations create a happy and relaxing feel – and the book would be a good one to read before bedtime (accompanied by a hug, of course). 

Before I pass them on, I thought I would try them out on the kittens. Here is how it went: 

Tilly: Er… I’m sorry… DOGS??!!

Billie: The illustrations are nice, though. Warm and pastle-y. And the story is funny.

Tilly: I. Hate. Dogs.

Billie: I liked that the message was light-hearted – it’s okay for Dudley to keep performing as long as he realises that Bonzo is talented too, and lets him share the spotlight.

Tilly: I think the ending should have been that a cat came along and beat everyone up.

Billie: But that―

Tilly: And smashed the piano.

Billie: But then no one could perform!

Tilly: The cat would do a dance. On the bodies of the dogs.

*Tilly arches her back and sways from side to side, spitting*

Billie: That’s not very dancey…

Tilly: What?

Billie: Nothing! I wish the Cuddle Bear would visit.

Tilly: BEARS?!!

Billie: But it’s nice to have a hug. Everyone feels a bit low every now again, like the penguin in the book who’s sitting on his own on the ice. I liked how the first page made you feel a bit sad, and then when the Cuddle Bear came along you felt cheered up – a bit like he’d hugged you!

Tilly: *stares*

Billie: We hugged once. Don’t you remember?

Tilly: I was asleep

Billie: You were purring!

Tilly: Snoring. Don’t hug me again.

Billie: I saw you reading this book – you had a tear in your eye.

Tilly: Um… I was… ANGRY. I thought the book should have been called Cuddle Cat.

Billie: Ooh that sounds lovely

Tilly: I mean Hitting Cat

Billie: It’s good to have some other animals, though – don’t you think?


Billie: I love that song!

Tilly: *slap*

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