Go to Sleep or I Let Loose the Leopard
by Steve Cole, illustrated by Bruce Ingman (Random House)
My Mummy is Magic
by Dawn Richards, illustrated by Jane Massey (Random House)
Reviewed by Ruth Brassington
Children are renowned for “trying it on” with babysitters, and in Go to Sleep or I Let Loose the Leopard, Ellie and Joe do just that. During their testing time they fight mattress monsters, wrestle with wild wardrobes and get caught in carpet whirlpools – the word games are as much fun as the illustrations. But threats of sending them to the moon in a spaceship, getting a robot to zap them with a sleep ray, and putting a naughty-child-nibbling plant in their room faze Ellie and Joe not a jot. But they’ve never had a babysitter who wanted to let loose a leopard. And after that threat, there are a few pages of extremely entertaining surprises for both adults and children.
Steve Cole writes for children ranging from pre-schoolers through to young adults, his previous books including two chapter-book series called Cows in Action and Slime Squad. Children aged 3-6 will enjoy Cole’s Go to Sleep, which is humorously enhanced by artist-writer Bruce Ingham’s zany take on the illustrations. Babysitting will never be the same again.
Of course mothers are magic. We know that. But in My Mummy is Magic we see a mother having as much fun as her child when she “magics” pain away, makes all food taste yummy, including puddings “that do magic in my tummy”. This child doesn’t need a leopard to be let loose at bedtime, because Mummy’s magic kiss works wonders. My neighbour with the two-year-old wishes it was as simple as that. Hopefully the delightful illustrations – and the sentiments expressed – will inspire young children and their mothers to encourage the magic to work. Dawn Richards’ earlier Random House picture books include Daddy is my Hero, also illustrated by Jane Massey.