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Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Best Chip

Author and Illustrator: Kate Leake
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books, 2006

This is one of my favourite books of all time, and quite possibly  #myinheritancebook. If you like modern poetry or even rap, this is the picture book for you. The rhyme is sublime!  It's fast, fun, tells a fantastic story and covers all manner of emotions (exhilaration, excitement, trepidation, sorrow); it's dynamic and comedic, all in one. 

The story rhyme tells the story of a little girl and her family standing in the queue at the fish and chip shop, then being served their chips, and the little girl savouring their taste, their look and their feel and then dropping her favourite chip in the floor. It looks like certain disaster, but the little girl soon recovers when she's served her other favourite food, ice-cream! 

Kate Leake works mastery over words in this book, it's a huge pleasure to read aloud, it rolls from the tongue. She uses alliteration on the 'ch' sound in the opening few pages, which are soft and lyrical. This sense of hysteria around the ' whopper' chip starts to build mid way through, as we're lead through excitement in the first person by the anticipating girl. The pages are laid out in a fun, engaging manner, comic book-like with capitalisation at random 'impact' moments, words in bubbles and sentences scattered uncouthly around the page, the the reader is forced to work hard for the best read, and I like this. 

In terms of the illustrations, again the lay-out and scale of pictures differ on each page and are stimulating on the eye. The children love trying to follow the read with their fingers, but I read this book so much,  they can't keen up, and it becomes even more fun and frantic in terms of reading and chip eating. 

The book works well if you put a touch of performance in, over playing the loss of the bestest chip, with dramatic sobs. Children from 2-7 years love having this read to them. My only very minor criticisms of the book; there's a lot of mild yellow in the pictures, so not so eye catching, and I sometimes feel it's a page too long ( but mainly only if the 'performance' is especially dramatic!- phew, exhausting!) 
All in all, a really lovely book for sharing with all the family. 

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