Tag Archives: Jim Field

Oi Cat!

Oh Dog..! Careful when talking things over with Cat.

The latest instalment in the Oi series by Kes Gray and Jim Field, finds Cat annoyed by the gnasty and gnibbly gnats eating his bottom. But Frog points out Cat is not allowed to kill his Gnats.

The ever helpful Dog tries to help with suggestions for where Cat’s bottom could go if not on the Gnats.

Kes Gray & Jim Field, Oi Cat!

We learn a lot of new rhymes as Cat and Dog consider the options, and as I mentioned, Dog should have steered clear of all this. Just saying.

That World Book Day book list

What do I think of the World Book Day book list for 2018?

I think that the world has gone crazy, and that I am looking forward to reading Oi Goat! by Kes Gray and Jim Field.

Celebrities… Even the word has gone funny. I used to feel it described a certain type of people fairly well, and in a not too derogatory way. Now I just feel slightly unclean thinking about the whole thing. And today I’m only addressing the WBD book list, not the whole ‘can famous people actually write books, and should they?’ conundrum. That will have to be another day.

World Book Day 2018 book titles

I’m so out of the ‘Strictly/BakeOff’ world that I know very few celebrity celebrities, if you get my drift? It wasn’t until recently I understood that Tom Fletcher isn’t only a normal author. I believe that Pamela Butchart is, and I saw her in Edinburgh in August. The Paddington book is obvious, but somewhat unnecessary.

I have heard of Clare Balding. I don’t quite know what she normally does for a living, but it seems that as with David Walliams she is deemed to need Tony Ross to illustrate her book. Julian Clary is famous. I know that. But not what for. (I know. I could Google.)

Not a great fan of Mr Men, but OK. The Avengers? Really?

Well, that’s enough insults for one day.

I used to be a great fan of these £1 books, with or without the free book token. That’s until I began my now long finished relationship with an indie bookshop. They were furious with the system, moaning about how it was they who had to pay for all this. I was surprised, and a bit shocked. Both by the idea of who pays, and that a bookshop would hate [a category of] books.

On the WBD website – where I went, trying to find out the answer to the burning question, which is ‘who decides which books?’ – I found only this:  ‘World Book Day Ltd is a small, registered charity. The financing of World Book Day comes mainly from contributing publishers, the generous sponsorship of National Book Tokens Ltd, some literacy partnerships and other supporters, as well as the participating booksellers who fund the entire cost of the Book Token redemption.’

But it stands to reason that they want this venture to be popular, so choosing celebrity books because they are deemed the most likely to succeed, makes some sense. But it’s a crying shame that this is what we have come to.

As for me, I went off the whole idea after my bookshop surprise. I felt as though I was stealing from poor innocent shop owners.

What I never stopped to consider at all, neither then, or now, was what I discovered on Facebook, in one of the countless discussions on the choice of books. Understandably the place has been heaving with feelings, because I associate mainly with book people. Someone left a comment; someone I don’t know myself, but I’m grateful for her input.

She described her daughter’s reaction to a WBD book by Cressida Cowell, quite a few years ago. The girl was reading it slowly, to make the book last as long as possible, because she felt she had discovered treasure in this story. She went on to find and read all the How To Train Your Dragon books, staying with the series, and buying the most recent one as an adult. In other words, a love affair that lasted.

So in this case it was the start of something great, and reading about it made my heart glow. But I’d not reckoned on that kind effect on the £1 book readers, because I was coming at it from the opposite way round. But of course that’s what it’s for; not only possibly to discover reading, but to meet a new literary best friend.

And while I hope the Oi Goat! will be fun, it’s hardly a book that would tempt a teenager. As Nicola Morgan said in a comment on here a day ago, there’s nothing on the list that would have interested her at that age. There are many of us like that.

(Here is Nicola’s own blog post on the topic. Much better written than the above, but as she points out, we are all different.)

Oi Dog!

It’s not often I laugh out loud when reading picture books. This was one of those rare occasions.

I didn’t read Oi Frog!, but its sequel Oi Dog! is a lot of fun. Words (and what words!) by Kes and Claire Gray, and scene stealing illustrations by Jim Field, tell us what happens after (the frog, I presume).

Jim Field and Kes & Claire Gray, Oi Dog!

It starts with the dog sitting on the frog. Obviously. The dog likes sitting on the frog, because when you do, they go ‘plurppppppppppp.’ Obviously.

The cat believes the rules as to who sits on what or whom are set, but frog decides to change this. Dogs are to sit on logs. Not on frogs.

And after that there is no end to the rhyming the frog can do. Or, for that matter, how many animals you can come up with and rhyming things they can sit on; puppies on guppies and poodles on noodles.

Great stuff, and I can imagine it would be even more fun if you actually had a child in the room with you when you read. (Well, I did, but he’s pretty old and he was busy opening new bank accounts for me at the time…)

Guess what frogs get to sit on now?


When they need to, ducks can find both the letter A and a home to call home.

In Kes Gray’s and Jim Field’s Quick Quack Quentin it’s all about the alphabet and how letters, especially vowels, work. Well, mostly. It’s also about a determined duck called Quentin who’s lost his A. His quack is quick because it lacks an A. He merely manages to say quck.

And that’s not good.

Kes Gray and Jim Field, Quick Quack Quentin

The doctor can’t help, nor can the animals at the farm, despite wishing to be helpful. They need their A and the other vowels don’t work so well. But you know, at the zoo there is an animal with a definite A surplus. See if you can work out who.

Michael Foreman makes the most wonderful of picture books! In Tufty he tells the story of the little duck who gets lost but who finds love. Just the sort of thing we like. And need.

Tufty leads a right royal life with his parents and siblings. But he’s a little slow, and when winter comes he can’t keep up on the flight south. Tufty needs to find somewhere safe to land, a place to stay.

Michael Foreman, Tufty

This story shows how a small refugee can hit jackpot and find somewhere to make a life for himself. Heartwarming, and with the gorgeous illustrations you come to expect from Michael.

A. Home. Success for both of today’s ducks.

Magic Ink

Yippee! Another book for young boys! Not many people do this as well as Spiderman (aka Steve Cole) does it. It is sheer pleasure for a witch to find such a childish and fun book that appeals equally much to the mature minds (cough…) of older people.

I used to read a great many comics, back in the day. Then I stopped. Some people never stop, which is why Steve has managed to add fresh ink to an old trade. His heroes, the stupendous Stew Penders, and his righthand pig, Power Pig, are as brave as any muscled wearer of tights have ever been. Braver, in fact, because they are so scared at times.

Forced by his slightly loopy parents to move house, Stew is now living in his late grandfather’s home, along with his annoying sister Lib. He meets a pig late one night, and everything changes. Posho (that’s the pig) speaks quite posh, like he’s 75 years old, or something. ‘I say old boy…’

It appears Stew’s grandfather kept a secret in his attic, and Posho is the least of it. Old Merlin himself was into comics, and he needs to be rescued, and he needs the mighty pen (and ink) of Granddad Penders’s. Or if necessary, Stew’s.

This rescue requires the stock of a nearby supermarket as well as odd bits of underwear, lemons and flying Shetland ponies. And plenty of courage.

Can they do it? Are they Stupendous Man and Power Pig? Yes, they are.

Steve Cole, Magic Ink


Bookwitch bites #64

The winners take it all. And the longlistees who haven’t won yet, might win later. One of them.

Andy Mulligan

I would say this, but I kept feeling that my feeling that I wanted to lay my hands on Andy Mulligan’s Return to Ribblestrop, just might mean he’d do well in the Guardian children’s fiction prize. And he did, but just so you know, I haven’t yet succeeded, so that will be why. And maybe the fact that it’s a tremendous book. I’m sure of that, even in my pre-reading state. It seems that Andy managed to be present at the prize event on Thursday evening, despite this photo showing him in some un-Londonesque high rise.

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize winners Liz Pichon, Peter Bently and Jim Field

It’s been quite a humourous week, if you don’t count my miserable week with a literary cold. The Guardian winning book didn’t have to be funny, except this time it was, but the Roald Dahl Funny Prize winners have to be. This year they are Liz Pichon, Peter Bently and Jim Field, and to be extremely fair, I haven’t read any of their books. But the people below have. I wouldn’t normally go for photos of judges, but then I thought they looked so nice, so why not?

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize judges Felicity Dahl, Francesca Simon, Michael Rosen, Danny Wallace, Grace Dent and Tony Ross.

The Carnegie longlist was announced last week, and as usual it’s a long list, full of excellent books. I have read 19 of them, which actually leaves rather a few still un-read. I won’t issue any predictions at this stage. The shortlist is easier to manage, so my tea leaves and I will get back to you then.

Someone who is both popular and funny, is Jeff Kinney who writes the Diary of a Wimpy Kid (and I’m afraid I can only manage to think of burgers). This successful man is about to appear at the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature on December 3rd. Yes I know, it does seem as if he’s a wee bit late. The festival was on in September, but apparently if you’re very big, they will make an exception. So if you’re into funny and angsty American cartoons, this event might be for you. The organisers wanted me to come to Bath for it, but you know me and my recent travel ban. I’ll stay put while they have all the fun.

Jeff Kinney at Bath Festival poster

I understand a couple of the actors from the film will be there as well. All glamour, in other words.