What do you want to do when you grow up? Why do all those things grown-ups say you can’t do because you are not grown up of course! This naturally will involve a great deal of the eating of sweets, staying up late, waking up early and ‘playing with the things mums pretend that mums don’t think are fun’. Here are the words of a song that is part of Tim Minchin’s stage adaptation of Dahl’s Matilda and they will certainly resonate both with a young audience as well as the adults likely to be reading them. It would have been a real bonus to have had a QR code – or even a packaged CD – with the book; a song always works best with its music.
What we do have are the illustrations by Steve Antony. We all know grumpy Mr Panda and have floated over the roofs of London in The Queen’s Hat. Here a band of children burst from the pages indulging in every activity they believe the grown-ups really do enjoy. They are real children – Antony does not portray them as adults – full of anarchy and fun and it is this that brings the text to life. We are looking through the eyes of the children. Antony’s energetic lines and attractive palette create a world that combines reality and the imagined seamlessly. The reader turns the pages to the rhythm of the words while surrounded by fantastic activity and beguiling details. A joyous book to share with children – young and old!