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Meltdown! Hardcover – 13 Sep 2016
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Murphy's colored-pencil-and-pen illustrations augment the humor of her text, which hinges on the dialogue between Mom and Roxy. A slice-of-life toddler story that squarely maintains focus on the toddler.
--Publishers Weekly Online Seeing Roxy plunge headfirst into the shopping cart while screaming, "GIVE ME THE PIGGY CAKE NOW!" will guarantee laughter from any group of parents and children. Murphy doesn't forget to include the embarrassment on Roxy's mom's face and the horrified looks from onlookers, either. Tantrums happen, but somehow they are easier to deal with and better to laugh about and talk about in a book.
--School Library Journal Murphy's illustrations, done in colored pencils and pens, are adept at showing ordinary scenes and frosting-covered chaos. The funny ending and over-the-top drama will sit just right with young readers.
About the Author
Jill Murphy has written and illustrated several award-winning picture books, including All in One Piece, which was highly commended for the Kate Greenaway Medal, and Five Minutes' Peace. She is also the author of the Worst Witch chapter book series. Jill Murphy lives in Cornwall, England.
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Ruby wanted to hold the cake so her mum let her, then she squeezed the box a little too tightly and the cake fell out. She then wanted to eat the cake, now. Her mum told her no, so she screamed and shouted all the way around the shop, and all the way home, making her mum very cross with her.
The book is about Ruby and her mum and Ruby’s bad behaviour. Her mum puts it down to tiredness, and us parent all know what tired toddlers can be like! I was reading further and further into the book, hoping that her mum didn’t let her have the cake after her behaviour. To be honest we will never know as the book ends with Ruby saying sorry and asking for the cake.
The book reminds me of a shopping trip with my youngest son when he was about 2 years old. I’d put something in the basket he liked and he wanted it. He was told no, not until we got home, but he yelled and yelled. People were looking at us. Telling him off and reasoning with him didn’t work. In the end, I just ignored him. he made such a fuss that I didn’t even end up buying the item as I told him he was no longer allowed it. He actually never did it again. I’m very lucky in that respect.
I think the story is a useful one to show a child how not to behave. I think it would have been better had the book ended with the mum telling her she was no longer allowed the cake after she was very naughty, to show that bad behaviour doesn’t get rewarded, but that is just my opinion.
The full-page illustrations are beautiful and the plot was enjoyable. I don’t believe that this book shows bad behaviour in a good light, but rather is a good talking point for an adult to speak to a child about what is happening in the story and for them to communicate how naughty Ruby was being.
Book Reviewed on Whispering Stories Book Blog
*I received a free copy of this book, which I voluntarily reviewed
Ruby, the bunny rabbit in the shopping trolley with her mum, is not likeable. Even to children - and that's a massive issues because, certainly for my houshold anyway, children love to (and easily) become invested in a lovable character. I'm sure she's supposed to be funny, but reading about a naughty child playing up in a supermarket was not a comical experience from an adult or child's perspective. So there's the first red flag for me.
Then, Ruby proceeds to basically echo everything her mum says to her. For example, if her mum asked her to put some bread in the trolley, Ruby replies with "in the trolley" and this genuinely goes on and on for pages. It makes for very boring, repetitive and honestly, kind of annoying narrative which certainly isn't enjoyable to read to a child, but is also very dull for the child being read to!
Finally, sometimes when reading a book to a small reader it can feel as though the story is more for the adult than for the child. Sometimes this is infrequent throughout the book and isn't a bad thing. But I felt as though this entire book was intended to ring true for many parents embarrassing experiences in the supermarket rather than for the child at all - I can't see how this would ever appeal to a small child when basically nothing happens. In my experience so far, quietly educational or deliberately comical stories are more of a crowd-pleaser. And this wasn't either.
The bunnies are really very lovely and executed beautifully, but not lovely enough to forgive the story.
ARC provided free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
I think most parents will be able to sympathise with this story and the illustrations are quite relatable – there is one where Ruby suddenly goes from sweet to looking slightly demonic (a look I swear I have seen in my own daughter’s eye from time to time, haha!) and I thought it was amusing that the other rabbits were all staring whilst their well-behaved children nicely hold hands with them, which is certainly how I’ve felt when I’ve found myself on the end of a public tantrum!
I’ll be honest, I did worry how my daughter (aged 4) would react to this story. Ruby doesn’t really receive any consequences to her actions and I certainly didn’t want my little girl to think that she could mimic Ruby’s behaviour and get away with it.
When we actually came to read the book together my daughter thought it was hysterical and could not stop laughing. As another reviewer suggested, I used the book as a chance for a discussion. We talked about what we thought of Ruby’s behaviour (‘she’s a naughty bunny’), what did the people looking think of Ruby screaming in the shop (‘she looks silly and noisy’), how is Ruby’s behaviour making mummy feel? (sad) and did we think Ruby should be allowed to have the cake? (‘no because she was being naughty in the shop’).
I think the book is OK, but could possibly have gone further to show that this sort of behaviour is not acceptable. It’s not all bad though and did serve as a good discussion prompt.
*We received a free copy of this book to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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