Review Blog

Aug 30 2011

Tiny little fly by Michael Rosen

cover image

Ill. by Kevin Waldron. Walker, 2010. ISBN 9781406330977.
(Age 2-5) Recommended. Tiny little fly has great fun stirring up the tempers of some very large animals: a tiger, elephant and hippo. The great big elephant tries to tramp and squash the fly, the hippo attempts to roll on him and the tiger swoops on him with his great big paw. They are all determined to catch him but that elusive little insect is way too quick!
As you would expect from Michael Rosen, a British Children's Laureate, the poem in this story is catchy and memorable. With a few sparse words, he is able to catch the teasing nature of that annoying small fly, in a wonderful rhyme that will have children asking for the book time and again. It is a delightful book to read aloud and one that will linger in the memory. The rhyme and rhythm will help emerging readers to remember words and to predict what is coming next.
Kevin Waldron's illustrations are really wonderful. He manages to catch the size and ability of the three dangerous predators. With a few bold black strokes, the stripes on the tiger jump out of the page, and his bright green eyes glare at the reader. The pink of the hippo's mouth is a delight and brings up all sorts of images of just what that animal could swallow, not to mention what damage the size of the elephant's feet could inflict on that pesky fly. As Rosen tells the tale from the fly's point of view, Waldron's illustrations follow, showing just parts of the animals, until they emerge as a full vivid illustration. Children have to guess what the next animal will be and will enjoy working it out from the drawing.
Humour lifts this story as each animal takes two winks at the fly and the funny ending will bring a smile to everyone's faces. It also provides an opportunity to act out the actions of the animals as they attempt to bring down the fly. This is a keeper for my grandchildren.
Pat Pledger

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