“Once upon a time, a thief committed a crime. Everything he stole was replaced by a rhyme…” and we have to guess what will be the rhyming replacement over the page. It’s generally not difficult: Hammy’s new hat was replaced by – a cat, and there are sometimes clues, but sometimes there are surprises, too. Marlow’s happy smile became a crocodile, and sleepy Boomer’s brain was replaced by a train. Of course the thief has trouble when he tries to steal Tumble’s orange, and he invents lots of mad possible rhymes. Smorange? Zorange? His indecision seems to lead to his capture by the police, but his rhyming skills ensure that he doesn’t stay in jail for long.
Huge cartoon people end up in all sorts of funny situations in very bright colours, and the holes on the cover that, with the picture underneath, make wide-open eyes will be attractive to the browsing child. This should be good to read out loud to younger children who might just laugh, while children whose language skills are developing may like to guess the rhymes and think up alternatives. Jon Burgerman is an established artist who has now turned his hand to picture books, and apparently the bright and playful style is his trademark. An author who illustrates his own books is sure to produce successfully exactly what he has in mind, and this will be fun to share.