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on 25 July 2013
The premise of this book is that children need factual books as well as fiction. The fact that the book starts with the fallacy that all mums are supermums in the animal kingdom (even a human mum with a multi-coloured mohican and piercings) adds nothing to its validity. While I would not advocate a book for younger children on rejection and abandonment, the fact remains that as a work of non-fiction this book is seriously flawed. For older children, the issues surrounding less than super mums, including rejection issues, are brilliantly covered in some of the fiction by Jacqueline Wilson and others.

Unfortunately, for both the author and illustrator, the bar has been set very high over the years so that the stilted prose and pictures that are neither realistic nor charmingly quirky do nothing to make the book attractive to young children.

There is a dreary didactic quality that pervades every page and the authors seem unsure of the age group for their target audience. My four year old grandson loves a bedtime story and, while he never seems to tire of some books, this one never even makes the shortlist. The idea of a book about animal mums and babies, including insects, birds, fish etc. is not original and there are several more charming examples that are not so self-consciously EDUCATIONAL.

The book claims to be part of an "award winning series" and has "notes on how to make the most of this book" by an educational consultant which are supposed to be read first, presumably by an adult. There is also an alphabetical index of animal supermums at the end. Why? The book finishes with suggested activities that are obviously aimed at a child who is an able reader and writer; which again raises the question who is this book aimed at? The big colourful illustrations, the format and limited text in the main body of the book suggest a pre-school age group.

My daughter agrees with me about all this so, to sum up, next stop the charity shop in the hope that somebody else might like it.
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