A SEARCHLIGHT BOOK
I haven’t covered anything specifically created for the very young for a while so let’s rectify that omission with this great activity book for three year olds (and over) that’s a huge bunch of fun and a great introduction to graphic narratives and themes, especially as the subject is also that rarest of animals, a British kids franchise with his own newsstand comic.
In case you haven’t seen the stop-motion adventures of Shaun the Sheep let’s start with a quick biography. He first appeared in the Wallace and Gromit animated feature A Close Shave in 1997 (he’s the one that got shorn – get it? – in the knit-o-matic machine). After a guest-shot on the 2002 series Cracking Contraptions he finally graduated to his own show on the BBC in early 2007.
Shaun is a sheep of singular intellect yet he lives on a farm where he has worryingly surreal adventures which pay mute tribute to those timeless silent classics of slapstick comedy. They are extremely entertaining for both adults and kids alike.
This lovely book uses the best of modern paper technology to tell the eerie tale of annoying aliens who invade the farmhouse where, as usual, the humans and Bitzer the sheepdog are useless. Naturally, Shaun has to deal with the invasion in his own inimitable manner…
This robust hardback is a great introduction to the magical world of books, and especially pictorial narrative. It is augmented by the coolest thing I’ve seen in years: a number of the illustrations are printed on transparent cels, and by the deft application of a torch the pictures come fantastically alive.
In a world where books are increasingly alien to people, the combination of great characters, compelling stories and pictures, plus every darn trick in the book, is a welcome tactic in getting kids reading. Forget games, buy that child a book!
© and ™ Aardman Animations, Ltd 2008. All Rights Reserved. Based on a character created by Nick Park.