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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming stories with a quiet, individual humour, 28 Nov 2001
By A Customer
In this slim paperback, Janet and Allan Ahlberg take six everyday expressions and write a story around each of them, adding a touch of fairytale, plus plenty of charm and humour. In 'The Clothes Horse' we learn all about a horse made, by a magician, out of spare clothes, and follow its adventures after it runs away from its job pulling a milkman's cart. The second story: 'Life Savings' tells the tale of an old woman who has saved days from her childhood in order to spend later. But there's more. What of the Giant constantly bothered by small children called 'Jack'? Why he puts them in a pot, of course, in order to tip them down the bottom of the garden every night. What is 'No-man's' land? One small girl in the fourth story poses the question, but luckily her best friend knows the answer. Next we have 'The Night Mail', which faithfully delivers sacks of night, until, one day, robbers steal them, plunging a kingdom into constant daytime. The final story, 'God Knows', is a twist on a classic bedtime story, with a rather unusual narrator.
It's the humour, I think, that makes this book really special - a real delight for adults reading aloud, and for older self-readers. There's a small illustration on nearly every page - just enough to complement the stories, and a full colour page illustration at the start of every tale, full of charming detail, with plenty of interesting little things for children to spot.
If you're looking for lots of bright colours and racy, bouncy text, then this book isn't for you. This is a quiet book, charming rather than exciting. All the stories have a gentle, self-contained, fairytale quality, making it perfect for bedtime, and a wonderful book to snuggle up to on a cold grey afternoon, or when a child is sick and you want to raise a smile.
However, it avoids being saccharine. In each story, a child's logic is King - and the combination of humour and charm makes this book, if not my daughter's favourite, at least one which is often taken from the shelves at bedtime, or on rainy days. Personally, it's one of the books I most enjoy reading to her. I think that's probably as much because of the gentle humour, and the careful illustration, than the 'stories' themselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, 16 Nov 2009
The stories in this book look behind the meaning of well-known expressions (clothes horse, life savings, no-man's land).
They are fun, thoughtful and very well written and the illustrations are a perfect match - it is a pleasure to read and re-read them with my children.
A real pity it is out of print!
I searched everywhere for second-hand copies to share this wonderful book with our friends.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Book, 24 April 2011
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This review is from: The Clothes Horse and Other Stories (Puffin Books) (Mass Market Paperback)
This book is one of my all time favourites, we didn't have much money when my children were young, so my daughter would get it out of the library as often as she could and we read one of the stories each night. It is sadly out of print now, but so worth getting a copy if you can. The writing is so well done by the Ahlberg's, children will be highly entertained as will the adult reading it. Great imagination in the short stories and so amusing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Six gentle, charming stories, ideal for rainy day reading., 22 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Clothes Horse and Other Stories (Puffin Books) (Mass Market Paperback)
In this slim paperback, Janet and Allan Ahlberg take six everyday expressions and write a story around each of them, adding a touch of fairytale, plus plenty of charm and humour. In 'The Clothes Horse' we learn all about a horse made, by a magician, out of spare clothes, and follow its adventures after it runs away from its job pulling a milkman's cart.
The second story: 'Life Savings' tells the tale of an old woman who has saved days from her childhood in order to spend later. But there's more. What of the Giant constantly bothered by small children called 'Jack'? Why he puts them in a pot, of course, in order to tip them down the bottom of the garden every night. What is 'No-man's' land? One small girl in the fourth story poses the question, but luckily her best friend knows the answer.
Next we have 'The Night Mail', which faithfully delivers sacks of night, until, one day, robbers steal them, plunging a kingdom into constant daytime. The final story, 'God Knows', is a twist on a classic bedtime story, with a rather unusual narrator.
It's the humour, I think, that makes this book really special - a real delight for adults reading aloud, and for older self-readers. There's a small illustration on nearly every page - just enough to complement the stories, and a full colour page illustration at the start of every tale, full of charming detail, with plenty of interesting little things for children to spot.
If you're looking for lots of bright colours and racy, bouncy text, then this book isn't for you. This is a quiet book, charming rather than exciting. All the stories have a gentle, self-contained, fairytale quality, making it perfect for bedtime, and a wonderful book to snuggle up to on a cold grey afternoon, or when a child is sick and you want to raise a smile.
However, it avoids being saccharine. In each story, a child's logic is King - and the combination of humour and charm makes this book, if not my daughter's favourite, at least one which is often taken from the shelves at bedtime, or on rainy days. Personally, it's one of the books I most enjoy reading to her. I think that's probably as much because of the gentle humour, and the careful illustration, than the 'stories' themselves.
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The Clothes Horse and Other Stories (Puffin Books)
The Clothes Horse and Other Stories (Puffin Books) by Allan Ahlberg (Mass Market Paperback - 16 Oct 1989)
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