This is an absolute corker of a story. Appealing to both boys and girls in equal measure (the Gaskitt family have twin boy and girl) this is a perfect mix of picture book and paperback to seamlessly slide the child who rejects back-and-white paperbacks into longer chapter stories without them realising. This book is different, as Ahlberg so often is, and it's like a starter detective story for the young child: what is that suspicious man doing with the pram, and what has happened to the missing animals and why is Mrs Gaskitt always in bed, eating odd things? The whole book is choc full of colourful interesting pictures, amusing illustrated maps, diagrams/coincidences/humorous asides that keep both parent and a sofaful-of-children entertained long past bedtime. Of the Gaskitt series that I have come across (man/clothes; woman/won things; children/smelt rat) my children (4&6) and I agree this is the very best. Fantastic.