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Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book? [Paperback]

Lauren Child
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 July 2003
Have you ever fallen into a storybook? Well, if you do, just make sure it isn't a fairy tale! Because in every one there is a 'wicked this, an evil that and a hungry somebody.' Find out what happens to Herb when he falls into a fairy tale!

Product details

  • Paperback: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Children's Books (17 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340805552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340805558
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 29.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lauren Child grew up in Marlborough, Wiltshire. She is the middle of three sisters and both her parents are teachers. She has had a variety of jobs from waitressing to designing exotic, elegant lampshades and working as an artist's assistant to Damien Hirst.

Lauren Child is considered one of the most talented children's book author/illustrators working today and has won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato, the Nestle Gold Book Award for That Pesky Rat and the Nestle Bronze Book Award for Beware of the Storybook Wolves. Utterly Me, Clarice Bean, Lauren's first fiction title, was a runaway success all over the world. Lauren has now sold over 3 million books in 19 countries across the globe.

Notable events in Lauren's career include selection for Quentin Blake's Magic Pencil Exhibition (British Library) in 2005; the Charlie and Lola TV series winning a BAFTA in 2007; In 2008 Lauren was appointed Artist for Peace by UNESCO and has been spearheading a project to raise money for UNESCO's Programme for the Education of Children in Need, called My Life is a Story. All profits from the sale of a special edition of That Pesky Rat will go to UNESCO. A retrospective of Lauren's work starting at the Manchester Art gallery toured the country from 2008 to 2010.

Lauren loves designing and making things and finds it exciting to see her drawings turned into objects. Other favourite things include the cinema, TV matinees, small Italian cars, handbags, cardigans, travelling and being picked up from the airport.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book? is an imaginative and colourful story for children aged four to eight. It is written and illustrated by talented Lauren Child who has scores of titles to her name including the popular I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato.

The book follows on from the success of Beware of the Storybook Wolves, where two wolves from Herb's bedtime story come to life. In a reversal of this plot, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book? finds Herb accidentally falling into a 30-page book of fairytales, where he causes mayhem to the storylines. He meets bolshy Goldilocks and three very polite bears, runs past Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel and Puss in Boots, enters a ballroom (in a double centre-page pullout) where he is chased by several fairytale characters and ultimately saved by the Fairy Godmother.

One theme is that it is naughty to tamper with books, but Herb's "scribbling and snippering" creates much humour and children will enjoy recognisable traits as they spot the queen with a moustache in biro and learn that Prince Charming has gone missing as he has been cut out by Herb for a birthday card.

The illustration is both alluring and frenetic, with clever collages made up of ink drawings, colourful fabric samples, wood grain and photographs cut and slotted together. Several typefaces are also employed and the size, shape and orientation of the text vary to complement the twists and turns of the story.

Overall, young children will be intrigued by the concept of this book, and captivated by Lauren Child's unique illustration. --Tracey Hogan. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Books are at the mercy of their owners, but careless Herb, who has defaced his fairytale collection with scissors and pencil, finds the traditional characters taking revenge... a more robust tale than last year's Kate Greenaway medal winner. (TES TEACHER)

Lauren Child returns to the endlessly malleable world of fairy tale characters. Her spiky style and confident handling of the source material creates a book which is more of a literary event than a quiet read. ... fabulous mix of collage, line drawings, photography and wacky typography (Lindsay Fraser, Glasgow Sunday Herald)

Herb is back and has fallen into a storybook. A thrilling story to scare your socks off, and another sharp look at the fine line between stories and the real world. (Children's Buyers Guide - Autumn Books)

Very, very funny and definitely not to be missed! (Bfk)

wonderfully imaginative ... Absorbing and with fantastical, zany pictures (The Observer)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book - highly recommended 14 Mar 2006
By A Customer
My six year old daughter loves this book and wants me to read it to her every night as her bedtime story. Fantastic clever imaginative story with characters that are already familiar from fairytales and wonderful illustrations. Children certainly don't mind that the author used characters from other stories in this one - on the contrary they enjoy pointing it out.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect To Read Together 11 Oct 2009
The illustrations are so demanding of attention in this book that you will NOT be allowed to read it to a child from a position where the child can't see. It is a book to explore and discover together - the fold out pages, the jokes in the pictures, the use of different media to create those pictures, all wholly alluring in true Lauren Childs fashion.

Also, at least in our home, you won't be allowed to read it in a straightforward fashion - you HAVE to DO the VOICES as my four year old puts it!! And it's all worth it...

It's just what you would expect from a Lauren Childs book - but as what you expect is a dash of creativity, a spark of originality, a shot of genius and a healthy dollop of good fun, that's no criticism!

A favourite in our house.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Book? 21 Mar 2005
By flora
I simply love this book. I am a teacher in training and have chosen this book to reveiw as one of my essay questions. I feel that the illustrations are wonderful and have never seen a book quite like it before. So much to write on!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great for 6 year olds 8 Nov 2009
My twins loved this book and did not stop laughing the whole time it was read! They still laughed for the next 15 times I read the book. This is a real winner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lauren Child is a genius!!! 27 Mar 2008
The women is a genius, and is truly the best children's author alive today! Next to Roald Dahl, I myself find all of her books exceptional. My daighter is nearly 3 and I have been reading these stories to her for a while, and she absolutely loves them. From a parents point of view, I can't get enough of reading them. I would reccommend these to children of all ages, and parents too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yet another hit with the children 11 Mar 2008
We bought Beware of the Storybook Wolves and it was an instant hit. The children were just as taken with this one, although I found the characters' "voices" less convincing than I had with the first book. Mind you, it's still being requested at bedtime over a year since purchasing it, so it can't be bad, and let's face it, I've not yet refused to read it so all in all, a big thumbs up!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smashing! 25 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A brilliantly displayed book with which we taught our classes to write topsy turvy fairy stories.
Their end products were displayed in a similar manner to this...and we're of high standard. It's an inspiring book.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another hilarious offering from Lauren Child 19 Sep 2003
My children insisted on buying this book to add to their fast growing library of Lauren Child's work. All the anarchic hilarity and wonderful artwork we have come to expect is here, in a wonderful story of a child entering a world of muddled fairy tales.
I have to say that from an adult point of view, the book is, perhaps, a little too similar to some of her earlier work, particularly Beware of Story Book Wolves. Some of this is deliberate - the Little Wolf appears, still dressed for Cinderella's ball. But overall, we found this title perhaps less original. If this had been our first Lauren Child book, we would probably have been more unreservedly charmed.
The children, however, love it, which is the important thing!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Great book would definitely recommend. I used it with my mixed age KS1 class. We were doing a topic on traditional stories. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Woofysnap
5.0 out of 5 stars Great buy!
This is a clever book that as parents we enjoyed reading to our three year old! While she is not yet familiar with some of the fairy tales that thread through the book she loved... Read more
Published 5 months ago by karen mc carthy
1.0 out of 5 stars Very weak story.
This book is awful. Impossible to follow and just an absolute muddle. The story is very very weak and has been played out many times before. Read more
Published 5 months ago by PCorm
5.0 out of 5 stars Books
I got this for my daughter as she love this author and to read, a lovely book with some fun
Published 6 months ago by Hayley
3.0 out of 5 stars We preferred who's afraid of the big bad book.
As always it was a great angle on a story but it didn't have the good humour that who's afraid of the big bad book has.
Published 9 months ago by Lynsey Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
class enjoyed this greatly - esp good as you can relate it to the fairy tales already known - super illustrations too
Published 12 months ago by purplebee
5.0 out of 5 stars A super book
Children LOVE this book, from infants through to middle juniors. They love the illustrations, and the way that the text is presented in spirals or unusual ways to illustrate what... Read more
Published 15 months ago by rubytuesday
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
My two love this especially upside down bits, a great length for a bedtime story, my 3yr old and 6 yr old love it equally
Published 16 months ago by katiepotatie
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read
What a great book - my 4 year old really loves looking through this on her own as well as when we read it to her - with so many familiar characters such as Goldilocks and... Read more
Published 16 months ago by julietrevel
5.0 out of 5 stars SO much fun for m 4 year old!
We actually borrowed this book from the library initially and just had to have our own copy. A great book and a slightly different twist on old favourities.
Published 16 months ago by Mrs D Bayliss
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