31 January 2011

Book review: Frank and Teddy make friends

My heart sank when this book arrived from the nice people at Random House. Yet another saccharine tale of how two cuddly toys learn the basics of friendship, I thought.

How wrong could I be? Yes, the title (Frank and Teddy make friends), although descriptive, isn't inspiring. But this is a wonderfully illustrated book, with non-nauseating text.

Professor Frank Mouse is a marvellous inventor - creating bicycles out of pencils and string, a fabulous set of wings, and in a moment of Dr Frankenstein-ness, Teddy. Teddy attempts to help him in his work...but makes a complete mess, and gets sent outside in disgrace. But when Professor Mouse sees Teddy helping others, and them in turn helping him, he realises the value of friendship and working together.

The language is simple and effective (M, who's five, and starting to read for herself was able to read some of it), and the story is set off beautifully by Louise Yates' lovely illustrations. We particularly liked Professor Mouse's experiments, diagrams and doodles set out as if on graph paper, complete with some simple sums.

The verdict: go and buy or borrow from the library. You'll enjoy it. On the strength of this one, we're going on a mission to the library this week to track down one of Louise's previous books, Dog Loves Books, which also looks excellent.

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