Little Book,  Picture books

Alfie Gets In First

Shirley Hughes
Alfie and his mum and baby sister, Annie Rose, arrive home after shopping. While his mum struggles with the pushchair outside, Alfie rushes inside and slams the door behind him. So now Alfie’s stuck INSIDE and his mum and Annie Rose are stuck OUTSIDE without a key! Soon everyone in the street is trying to help rescue Alfie – but he’s got a plan of his own…
If you would like a change from reading about dragons, aliens, princesses and other mythical beings and want to look at books that actually relate to real life then Shirley Hughes ‘Alfie’ books are just what you are looking for!
Alfie is a little boy of around 5 years old and there are a few books about the things that happen to him. We also love these, in particular the one where the pipe bursts whilst the baby sitter is looking after Alfie one evening and the rain inside the house! Anyway, in this story Alfie shuts himself inside the house, and what parent can’t relate to the panic that follows this event? Alfie too, goes through a whole spectrum of emotions as he realises what he has done and it’s consequences. Many people on the street come to help and there is a real community feel to the action.
It is all written with warmth and gentle humour, and I think Shirley Hughes is really good at showing the perspective of the child as well as the adult. This is complimented perfectly by the lovely illustrations, plenty of detail and colour, all obviously painstakingly hand drawn and coloured. In this story the pictures are even more clever, using the door in the middle of the double page and showing Mum, Annie Rose and the growing concern on one side of the door (one page) and Alfie, trying to work out what to do on the other (side and page!). This also means an eagle eyed observer can begin to guess what will happen a couple of pages before the text of the story reveals it to us. It is simple, yet wonderful stuff!
You can get this book as part of a set and I would totally recommend getting them all. We have just given a couple of sets as presents and in both cases the parents have made a point of letting me know how much their children ( 5 and 6 year olds) have loved them. They are also great for children who have begun to read for themselves.
Verdict: These will last you and your children for a number of years, read them!!
Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Red Fox
Publication Date: May 2009
Format: Paperback
Pages: 39
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Early Readers
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British Book

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