S and I were sent this beautiful children’s book for review, which was nice.
Operation Bumpkin Birthday is about a rat called Snatch, who is always hungry and lives in a New York subway station. One night, together with his brothers, he leaves the subway station and finds the rat equivalent of heaven – full rubbish bins. The bins belong to the Bumpkin family. Snatch’s brother sneaks into the house and finds that there are two children, and one of them is having a birthday party the next day. And so the rats return to their home to develop Operation Bumpkin Birthday, where they plan to cash in on all of the food laying around.
Things We Love About This Book
Michael Graham has done a fabulous job of illustrating this book; the pictures are beautifully coloured, and he’s somehow made it easy to distinguish between three different rats, and to easily see which is the meanest. The illustrations are also well placed within the book. In some places they are a full page opposite a page of text; in other places they are the middle third of a page, with text on either side. Each page is also prettily bordered, which I think is a nice touch to making the book feel nicer.
I love that this is a hard back book; it has the feel of being a little more sturdy for little fingers. I’m sure when I was little there were a lot more hardback children’s books about than there are now. It makes the book feel more like something to be valued and cherished, that it will last longer
The text is large and well spaced, so it’s easy to follow what’s going on. Also, some of the words are in capitals so they stand out. S is quite small still, with a limited attention span – so if we don’t want to sit still long enough to read all the words, there are pictures every time you turn the page and you can pretty much just tell the story – or talk about what’s happening – without having to read all the words. We’ve had a lovely time talking about what we think the rats are up to!
Every page is numbered… and the number is on a wedge of cheese. S loves this, and points out the cheese on each page. It’s a nice little touch that adds to the theme of the book.
I won’t spoil the ending of the book for you, but it’s somewhat bittersweet. I might be a horrible mum, but I like it when stories don’t just end with “and they all lived happily ever after.” I also like that there’s not some moral shoved down the children’s throats about not stealing, or not being nasty or something. We never find out the fate of Snatch’s brothers, so we don’t know whether they live happily ever after or not!
Our current favourite part of this book is that it ends with “THE END” in big letters. S is at that age where all books end with a very definitive “the end” and a slamming closed of the book. Being a hard back, this one makes a very satisfying slam too.
Thanks for reading.