Tag Archives: Peppa Pig

(Don’t) Do The Voices! – a blog post by author Alan Dapre

Back in 2013, my young daughter did not want me to put on any ‘voices’ when I read to her.

“Stop, Daddy – you don’t sound like you any more.”

“But that’s the point,” I’d say as she picked up a book. I’m not meant to sound like me. “What are we reading tonight?”

“Peppa Pig.”

It was called something like Peppa Pig’s Daddy Is Made To Look A Right Nugget Again. To save my sanity, I slipped in voices from the TV show.

My Mrs Rabbit was okay. My Madame Gazelle was spot on and I did an uncanny Daddy Pig – basically lots of booming and chuckling. My Peppa Pig was woeful though – wrong pitch and tone.

“I told you – don’t do the voices!” she said, sounding exactly like Peppa.

Well, that was about 5 years ago. Over the intervening time, I have gradually cajoled my book-loving daughter into joining in. A word, a phrase…a sentence. A page! After a while she grew to like my grumpy Mr Gum…

My bewitching Winnie the Witch…

Even my dodgy Scooby-Doo… ‘Sh-raggy!‘ 

These days (nights?) it isn’t so easy to get reading time together. I have deadlines or maybe my daughter’s gone to bed VERY late…. So I say goodnight and leave her reading quietly to herself.

Three. Two. One.

“Dad! I need you,” yells a plaintive voice when I am halfway down the stairs.

I go back up and pop my head around her door. “What do you want?” I know what’s coming.

“A story.” I get the tried & tested It’s just one story look. Works every time.

“Ok. Just one.”

“We have to read it all – and do the voices.” 

I nod and say, “Only if you turn the light out straight afterwards and don’t sneakily turn it on and read for an hour then complain you’re tired the next morning!”

“Okay, Dad. Sure thing. Pinkie promise.”

So nowadays we both take turns being the characters.
Such is life. You couldn’t make it up.

reading together, sharing books, do the voices, bedtime story

 

 

And if you do…

DO THE VOICES!

 

 

*****

Alan Dapré is the author of the popular Porridge the Tartan Cat series.

alan dapre,unfair funfair,prorridethetartancat,florisbooks,kelpies,junior fiction,gender neutral, boys and girls,girls and boys

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‘Mummy, don’t do the voices!’

Peppa Pig’s school roof needs repairing. Again. And poor Daddy Pig ends up having to buy his chair back at a fundraising fete.

That was the gist of our daughter’s latest bedtime story. I’ve read “Peppa Pig’s Daddy Is Made To Look A Right Idiot Again” or whatever the book’s called  a million times, trying as best as I can to mimic the voices Isla hears on the DVD.

My Mrs Rabbit is close, Madame Gazelle is spot on and I do an uncanny Daddy Pig – basically lots of booming and chuckling. My Peppa Pig is woeful though – wrong pitch and tone. But, hey, there have been umpteen actresses playing the part since it began a decade or so ago. That’s my excuse.

Isla usually asks her Mum to put her to bed so Mum usually throws herself into reading aloud. She has a gentle Scottish accent that strikes the right rhythm and pace. Well, I think so. Isla too – so much so that whenever Mum starts to put on a voice and do an impersonation she is immediately silenced. Either by a hard Paddington Bear stare or the words, ‘Mummy, don’t do the voices!’

Tonight, Mum’s Madame Gazelle was mercilessly shot down in a scene reminiscent of Bambi.

She gamely protested – ‘But you let Daddy do the voices. Is that because he can do them?’

‘Yes,’ Isla shot straight back.

Undeterred, Mum bided her time until the next book. As she opened the first page of ‘Some Dogs Do’ Isla offered some advice.

‘Don’t do the voices!’

Some Mum’s Don’t. Mum obligingly played it straight and got an approving look. Within moments the tired wee girl was asleep and Kate was downstairs pondering the inequality of Life.

‘Is she asleep?’ I ask.
Kate nods then says – ‘I do a really good Madame Gazelle.’

She launches into an accent straight out of  The Sound Of Music – part Austrian, part manic Nun. I am impressed. I tell her so. ‘That’s not what Isla thinks. She thinks you do better voices than me.’

Inwardly I glow, though outwardly I feign a concerned look and mention that sometimes Isla doesn’t like me doing voices. Apart from when I do foppish Captain Hook from Jake & The NeverLand Pirates – ‘Smee, Smee! Where are those pesky pirates?‘ Oh, and my earnest Scooby-Doo always goes down well – ‘Sh-raggy.’ As does my dim Winnie The Pooh – ‘Um, where’s mi hunney?

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I tell Isla Stories. These are stories that have certain rules.

1. They must always began with the words Once Upon A Time There Was A Big Girl Called Isla.

2. Isla must always be the heroine and save the day.

3. The stories must feature her Gang, such as the cast of Scooby Doo interspersed with characters from Jake & The NeverLand Pirates and Fireman Sam. Plus key ‘real’ friends from her Nursery.

Invariably the story involves CrackleNose the Witch who rather disgustingly has a nose that crackles when she picks it. In every story CrackleNose puts everyone in mortal danger but Isla beats her with some clever ruse.

Yesterday CrackleNose was turned into a tin of baked beans by magic and rolled down the hill into the mouth of a hungry shark that Isla had helped earlier. Yes, each story features plot twists and heart wrenching character arcs. Oh, and voices. Plenty of voices. I am allowed to go OTT with my voices in Isla Stories. CrackleNose cackles crazily in a ‘Nha-Ha-Harrr!’ kind of way.

Normally I get asked to tell them at 6.10 am when Isla springs in, all bright and breezy. I am far from my best and I usually wind her up by saying, ‘Once Upon A Time There Was A Big Girl Called Isla who tricked a Witch. The End!’

Isla will protest and ask for a longer version.

I say, ‘Once Upon A Time There Was A Big Girl Called Isla who tricked a Witch and went back home. The End!’

By this point Isla is NOT PLEASED so she bashes me with pillows or pokes me in the ear or tickles my feet or opens the curtain or whines to Mum that Daddy is not saying it right.

I do not want to do voices. It is too early, but She Who Must Be Obeyed Because She Is Four And Nearly A Half persists and I sleepily agree to do them … if Isla will agree to get washed and dressed and brush her teeth and eat breakfast and put her shoes on.

Isla readily agrees.

I tell the story properly. Then we spend the next hour trying to get Isla to get washed and dressed and brush her teeth and eat breakfast and put her shoes on……..

Such is life. You couldn’t make it up.

And if you do… Don’t Do The Voices!

 

From Pigs to Pirates – blog by Alan Dapré

Bye bye Peppa Pig. Hello Jake and The Neverland Pirates. There you have it – my daughter dropped a coin into a well near our house and made a wish. ‘I wish that I was Jake.’

If we had known of this fervent new found devotion to Disney’s animated hero we might have bought her that Jake costume from the Disney store last month. Even though it looked like overpriced tat. She had to make do with a second hand Snow White dress (not worn as yet though).

I really like the writing on Peppa Pig; it is witty, part-tailored for adults and well animated. The stories are rich and varied with a pleasing simplicity. The only thing I didn’t like was Peppa’s serial bossiness which verged on rudeness. Her merciless teasing of George did not show her in a good light but probably reflects sibling rivalry.

The trouble is that children do copy what they see and for ages my girl has refused to eat cucumber, lettuce and tomato thanks to an episode where George goes ‘bleurggh!’ to the said veg. Even though he eats them in the end that part has missed my daughter by. A full year later and she is now nibbling on pieces of lettuce … pieces only visible through an electron microscope … it’s a start though.

I shall miss Daddy Pig who is always being the fall guy and blamed for many mishaps. I shall not miss Mummy Pig’s ineffable smugness. In nearly all of the episodes she is always annoyingly right. Arrgh. I cheered when she finally got covered in a heap of fallen leaves. Daddy Pig snores, burps and scoffs his way through most stories which is probably a bit too close to home.

As for Jake, well he has that irritating brightness and shoutiness that you also get in Dora The Explorer. I like the energy and pace of these US shows but the fake joining in gets my goat. ‘Hooray we did it,’ shouts Fake, er Jake, when he pretends that my daughter has chosen the right path. He’ll look straight into the camera and say, ‘Which path do we take? A B or C ?’ and stand there for a bit and then say, ‘You did it. You chose C!’  – when in reality my daughter is off somewhere riding the dog and I am tidying up for the tenth time that morning. ‘No I didn’t,’ I growl at the TV. ‘I just picked up a soggy biscuit.’

Peppa Pig at least doesn’t pretend she has a relationship with the tv viewer. She simply gets on with her irritating bossiness and it’s up to us whether we want to watch. Unlike Mickey Mouse who hogs the screen like a tin pot dictator  – ruling all he sees with an unfailing smugness and ego. Mickey is never wrong, unlike poor Donald who has been the victim of Mickey’s cockiness for the past sixty years. Mickey has all the attributes of a sociopath, content to have Minnie, Daisy and Goofy running about at his beck and call. When he expresses sincerity it comes across as scripted and unfelt.

Hang on. These are just tv characters that exist in a 2D world for children to enjoy. They are not created wholly for adults, more for the child within. Thank goodness that children move onto other shows, leaving familiar characters behind. I am not sure I could last another second of Little Einsteins with their convoluted, unfunny, excruciatingly awful plots and tedious animation. There. I have said it. At last I can get the frustration out. There must be a solution to all this that will stop me getting so stressed.

The Off switch? Of course …

Now where did my daughter hide the remote? Under the sofa, by the bike or in the flower pot?

In the flower pot!

You did it!