Parents, particularly mothers, choosing this book as a cosy, feel-good story to share with their toddler will be in for a shock. The cover, title and premise, a trip to the park for some time with Mummy, certainly suggest a gentle, family tale. But in fact, in what the publicity describes as ‘ironic’ and ‘a wry look at mobile phone use’, Mum sits on a bench chatting on her phone whilst her toddler has all sorts of adventures. These escapades involve befriending a dog, eating the pigeons’ food, falling into a lake and out of a tree and a flight on the back of a swan.
The illustrations are humorous and imaginative, vintage Judith Kerr, and follow the words of the conversation very cleverly, but parents may be disconcerted by the toddler’s mishaps and the fact that Mum is completely unaware of them. The language of the mobile conversation also seems oddly old-fashioned for a contemporary story.
This picture book could be read as a witty observational tale with a sharp point to make about parental engagement, or it could be taken as being overly critical. Either way, adults would be best to exercise a little caution before deciding how to share this book with a child. The illustrations work very well as a fantasy adventure that parents and children could talk through together and the whole book is probably best taken as a tongue-in-cheek cautionary tale about living in the moment, as much a fantasy as a tiger in your kitchen would be.