Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com
The Swap is a children’s picture book written by Jan Ormerod, illustrated by Andrew Joyner and published by Little Hare, an imprint of Hardie Grant Egmont (Australia 2013). I’ve previously reviewed Ormerod’s delightful 101 Things to Do with Baby and When an Elephant Comes to School.
When a baby is born, little brothers and sisters are not always enthusiastic about the new arrival. Such is the case with Caroline Crocodile. Her baby brother is smelly, dribbles, is no fun and takes up all the room in Mum’s lap. So she decides to swap him for a new model. The Baby Shop assistant enters enthusiastically into the idea, and supplies her with different babies. Alas, those babies turn out to have their problems too! Ormerod tells such a fun tale, and there’s humour for adult readers too - like when Caroline complains that the chair-eating Baby Panda is a fussy eater, or the assistant suggests that twin baby tigers would be: “Twice the fun!” Yeah, right! I can hear every parent saying.
I love Joyner’s illustration style. It’s just as perfect for this book, as it is for Too Many Elephants in this House! (Check out my review.) He brings his animal characters so beautifully to life and portrays an amazing amount of information through their expressions and body language. The limited palette choice in The Swap gives what to me seems a lovely retro style to the illustrations. There are also many, many visual details for kids to pore over, giggle about and discuss.
Get more information about The Swap from Joyner’s website, including great illustrations for kids to colour. It’s great to know The Swap is available in other countries, or will be.
As a follow-up to the story, your youngster might like to play at being a baby. What dress up clothes can he/she find or make to help? You could make special food for babies together, sing baby songs, have lots of cuddles and even have a nap! Kids could also act out the story with the help of their toys, and build a Baby Shop from a cardboard box.
If you're looking for books about/for babies, perhaps a great gift for a new-born, as well as The Swap, take a look at my reviews of:
Find more Children's Book Reviews on The Book Chook by clicking Reviews in the right sidebar. You might also like to read Bedtime Goes Better with Books or check out my huge list of Activities for Children's Book Week 2014.