Down in the Dump with Dinsmore; The Too-Tight Tutu; No One; Ginger
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Down in the Dump with Dinsmore
Illustrated by Stephen Axelsen
These four books, penned by antipodean authors, are collectively published as 'Puffin Bites' - with each book having a gimmicky 'bite' removed from the top right hand corner.
Mahy's story deals with 'green' issues in more ways than one. Her instantly recognisable surreal style shines through as we are invited to go Down in the Dump with Dinsmore, an ecologically correct pupil, who spends his life marvelling at the great merry-go-round of the world and how things are used and recycled. Dinsmore ends up as a human piece of turf - a real test for illustrator Axelsen but he comes through with flying colours.
Excellent illustrations are also to be found in Clark's The Too-Tight Tutu - superbly and simply capturing the humour of what can best be described as a junior version of 'Stepping Out'. Very funny indeed.
No One tells the tale of Emma and her older sister Charlotte who share the same birthday and both want a puppy as a present. Emma's puppy is rather timid and lacking in personality to the extent that she refers to it as No One. Sibling rivalry and the jealousy which can develop between peers, are well handled in this tale which sees a spiteful classmate of Emma causing No One to escape, only for the paperboy, William, to save the day.
There are many pets in the family but Ginger, the rabbit, is Hugo's favourite. When the family go to the country for the weekend, taking some of their pets with them, the last thing Hugo expects is for his beloved rabbit to be savaged by a farm dog. It was also a bit of a shock for me too! Mind you, the blurb describes this series as bitesize stories which will leave you 'hungry for more'... I am not convinced that Ginger will be a popular book with its intended audience of young readers, whom the publishers believe will find it 'mouthwatering'.
Each title contains a paragraph by both the author and illustrator detailing the background to the stories and the pictures.