Oi Puppies! by Kes Gray and Jim Field

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve

Many parents and teachers who value literacy and wish to make the acquisition of reading skills an exciting and effective activity, would find Oi Puppies! to be a terrific aid.

Experts in the field agree that the earlier books and stories are introduced to a child, the easier it is for these invaluable skills to be learned.

I began to read to our children around three months and they quickly developed enjoyment and preferences.  Initially, it was the illustrations that held their attention.  Favourite pages were scrutinised again and again, accompanied by beaming smiles and much waving of arms and kicking of chubby legs.

The illustrations in Oi Puppies! will not fail to appeal to babies and young children.  They are vibrant, simply drawn and feature large eyes which little ones find irresistible.  The colours are gorgeous greens, brightest yellows and dazzling pinks – amongst others.

The page which shows a desperate frog shouting for a taxi is full of eyes which belong to the puppies and tadpoles in hot pursuit!  This is coupled with words which play with language.   Humour is here too in entertaining rhymes: ‘Lollie’s on a trolley, Spike’s on a trike, Trixie’s on a pixie, Flash is on a splash’.

Children love nonsense too.  So, one page has: ‘Jock’s on a clock, Tiddle is on a fiddle, Buster’s on a duster’.

Being cheeky or naughty adds spice to a tale and older infants really love this.  A puppy chews on a frog’s swimming trunks and another swings from the poor cat’s whiskers.  Every now and then, there are words printed in huge black letters which means the reader must shout them.  This is another feature which is bound to increase the fun.

Attention spans are brief with the very young so this tale is only a few pages long.  The book is a generous size but, being on paper and not a board book, means that reading would need to be accompanied which is an asset to fostering a love of stories.  The pleasure is one to be shared.

Fans of this very attractive book will be buoyed by the news that the talented pair of Kes Gray and Jim Field has produced four other books.  Australian readers would be attracted to Oi Platypus! and the pair has written Oi Dog!, Oi Cat! and Oi Frog! as well.  Oi Frog! has been very popular.

Children’s books are numerous and varied and of a very high standard so choosing the best for a child is a challenge.  Oi Puppies!, a bright and cheery offering, with the attributes mentioned, ensures early reading can be great fun.

Oi Puppies!

[2019]

by Kes Gray and Jim Field

Hachette

ISBN 9 781 444 93735 0

$24.99; 32pp

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