Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book One hundred and ten

A few weeks ago I reviewed a picture book about a little boy called Alfie, and I have another Alfie book for you today. Just like the stories in all the Alfie books, this story describes an everyday event that becomes an adventure for Alfie and his family. When my daughter was three years old or so, she did what Alfie does in this story, and I have a very anxious half hour or so trying to rescue her.

Alfie Gets in FirstShirley Hughes
Picture book
For ages 3 to 6
Random House UK, 2009, 978-1-862-30783-4
   One day Alfie, his mum, and his little sister Annie Rose walk to the shops. On their way back home, Alfie runs ahead because he wants to be home first. Annie Rose does not care who is first because she is tired, and she is content to sit in her push-chair and suck her thumb.
   After Mum opens the door, Alfie runs into the house and he does the most extraordinary thing. Alfie slams the door shut. Alfie, the shopping, and Mum’s key are in the house, and Mum and Annie Rose are outside. Mum tells Alfie to open the door, but Alfie cannot reach the catch, nor can he put the key through the letterbox because he cannot reach the letterbox.
   Soon Annie Rose, who is now hungry as well as tired, starts to cry. Mrs. McNally from across the road comes over to try to help, but nothing she says can change the fact that Alfie still cannot reach the catch or the letterbox. Alfie starts to cry and cry and cry. Maureen offers to climb the drain pipe to get in a window, the milkman promises that they will “soon have you out of there.” Even the window-cleaner gets in on the act.
   In this wonderfully sweet and funny picture book, Shirley Hughes tells a story about a misadventure that could happen to any little boy or girl. Once Alfie closes the door, Shirley Hughe’s artwork shows what is happening inside the house and what is happening outside, on the front step. Children will immediately be able to identify with scared little Alfie who is all alone in the house. They will be delighted to see how Alfie finally manages to solve the problem that he has created. 

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