Book: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?

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Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?

Author: Lauren Child
Publisher: Hodder Children's

Have you ever fallen into a storybook? Well, if you do, just make sure it isn't a fairy tale! Because in every one there is a 'wicked this, an evil that and a hungry somebody.' Find out what happens to Herb when he falls into a fairy tale!


Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book? is an imaginative and colourful story for children aged four to eight. It is written and illustrated by talented Lauren Child who has scores of titles to her name including the popular I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato.

The book follows on from the success of Beware of the Storybook Wolves, where two wolves from Herb's bedtime story come to life. In a reversal of this plot, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book? finds Herb accidentally falling into a 30-page book of fairytales, where he causes mayhem to the storylines. He meets bolshy Goldilocks and three very polite bears, runs past Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel and Puss in Boots, enters a ballroom (in a double centre-page pullout) where he is chased by several fairytale characters and ultimately saved by the Fairy Godmother.

One theme is that it is naughty to tamper with books, but Herb's "scribbling and snippering" creates much humour and children will enjoy recognisable traits as they spot the queen with a moustache in biro and learn that Prince Charming has gone missing as he has been cut out by Herb for a birthday card.

The illustration is both alluring and frenetic, with clever collages made up of ink drawings, colourful fabric samples, wood grain and photographs cut and slotted together. Several typefaces are also employed and the size, shape and orientation of the text vary to complement the twists and turns of the story.

Overall, young children will be intrigued by the concept of this book, and captivated by Lauren Child's unique illustration. --Tracey Hogan.

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