The Flea's Sneeze, by Lynn Downey
Illustrated by Karla Firehammer
Suggested age: 18mth-3yrs
it's a very simple story of a flea in a barn who is about to sneeze. as the peacefully sleeping animals don't hear his cough and sniffle, not even the mouse he used for a house, an enormous sneeze explodes from him and everyone wakes to pandemonium.
the charm of this large picture book lies with the illustrations, which I love, as well as the repetition, which my girl loves. it didn't take her long to be shouting out the next animal on the list. so i think that this is a great book to read aloud with a pre-reader. also, as the animals change positions on different pages, we enjoy locating them. useful for using words such as 'on' and 'under'.
Not even the mouse
He used for a house;
Or the rat, or the cat,
Or the black-eyed bat;
Or the cow, or the owl,
Or the feathered fowl;
Or the dog, or the hog,
Or the old barn frog.
They all slept peacefully-
But not the flea.
my one criticism is the bizarre (not in a good way) choice of a few of the rhymes: when the animals are violently woken from the sneeze, the bat's eyes turn blue, and the frog was reminded of his old nephew. erm, okay. Downey just seemed to exhaust her ideas on 'oo' sounding rhymes. she really couldn't come up with anything else before it went off to the publisher? still, it's really minor, and it doesn't deter one bit from my girl's enjoyment of it.
that aside, this has to be my daughter's favourite book of 2009. not only did she request it, 'again, again!', she also picked it up herself to 'read' countless times, as well as falling in love with my rendition of it to fall asleep by - go figure. this story has her enjoying almost any achooo in any book.
after 6 months or so, the novelty wore off and she stopped requesting it. but it was worth it for that time, and nowadays she's still happy for me to read it to her on occassion.
highly recommended for great silly fun.
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