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Kipper by Mick Inkpen – a review by Alan Dapré

Today I’m reviewing a much loved picture book – er, much loved by me and my little daughter. This time it is Kipper’s A to Z.

I could have chosen from any number of the Kipper books but this one is a future classic and perfect for sharing. Mick Inkpen illustrates as well as writes.

Imagine you are a cute brown and white dog with a fondness for old socks and caterpillars, plus the odd bone and zebra. Yours is a world of gentle humour, meandering adventures and loveable friends. In this book Kipper works his way through the alphabet meeting old friends and new surprises.

There are plenty of unexpected objects associated with the letters of the alphabet – though K is obviously for Kipper. Mick Inkpen ties the narrative to the objects and has plenty of fun on the way. The Zebra keeps popping in wanting to know when it will appear and Kipper keeps shushing it until the right cue.

X is a strange one though – named after the insect that Kipper finds earlier in the book. I don’t think this is a book that strives to teach children the letters of the alphabet – rather it seeks to entertain and hopefully give readers a sense that they are on a journey. Objects begin with letters and letters form an alphabet … very simple really.

I originally met up with Kipper books while teaching in a Primary School – Haddon Primary in Nottingham. A very good school with plenty of good books. My absolute favourite one features Kipper and Tiger in the snow, though I have a fondness for the one where Kipper and Tiger play with a rocket.

Anyone reading Kipper’s A to Z will recognise the gentle charm of the narrator. I now hear the voice of Martin Clunes who narrates the Kipper stories on DVD. It is a warm, cheerful, thoughtful voice which blends well with the slowly unfolding onscreen narratives.

Kipper’s A to Z has been out a decade or so now and still has a resonance today. It was crafted to stay well within Kipper’s world so there are no references to any objects that will date. Don’t expect to see X is for X Box.

Mick Inkpen is someone I’d love to meet – he must have a wealth of stories about his…er…stories. Plus he is the creator of another animal favourite – ‘Wibbly Pig’ who shares Kipper’s sense of adventure.

I am sure that Kipper will become a favourite for every new generation of readers. He is much loved in our household and makes us feel closer to our own real life adventurous dog, Skye.

 

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You might like to consider downloading a sample or two of my sunny, funny Wee Bear picture ebooks … (available for KindleFires, Paperwhite, Kindle For Mac & Android).

 

Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (UK link)

Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (US link)

‘Wiggle Jiggle’ –  available on kindle (UK link)

‘Wiggle Jiggle’ – available on kindle  (US link)

Eggy Leggy - picture book by Alan Dapre

Eggy Leggy - picture book by Alan Dapre

‘Eggy Leggy’ –  available on kindle (UK link)

‘Eggy Leggy’ – available on kindle  (US link)

 

I think therefore iBook

Well, the e-book writing odyssey continues. I know I can make one using Word & Sigil then Calibre – to get Kindle mobi or epub versions. But I am more interested in creating a visually stimulating children’s book. I think that is where the iBook Author scores highly. I have had a play and it is rather similar to the website building software I used to create my site. Phew. Also I have a lot of experience with Photoshop and there are some similarities there.

I like the ease of using iBook Author, but there are some issues.
1) I cannot preview my book-in-progress on my iMac as I do not have an iPad to link up – so I am resorting to borrowing a neighbour’s gadget.
2) Exporting to Calibre makes the layout a mess – in fact, the only thing that plays it ok is an iPad. Apparently .iBook is a .epub file but one that has been made to only work with Apple devices.
3) The market for children’s books is uncharted on the ibooks platform – plus everything tends to get lumped in as one so it is hard to search for any given book.
4)The templates do not fit well with a picture children’s book – so they need to be pared down to basics. It helps to be creative with the TOC and thumbnails – so they do not distract from the story or give the narrative away.

Anyway, I have barely started so I will add more about how I am getting on as I, er, get on. In the meantime, I have been reading a useful book which has tips on how to work from home. Never easy (practically impossible) I have found, especially with a three year old vying for attention. Granny is a godsend!

The eBook is called ‘How to Run a Work from Home Business When You Have Small Children’ – here is my review. By the way, I have no affiliation to this, I just liked what I read.

“Life for parents is always hectic and demanding and requires considerable patience, humour and organisation. Celina Lucas has written a compact book crammed with insight and helpful advice for parents. She shares her own experiences and laces them with practical thoughts on how to run a business from home.

It is easy to identify with the key topics under scrutiny. The section on being more organised struck a chord but plenty of tips and suggestions are offered up on a range of work start-up issues. This book aims to get you thinking more practically about your own situation and how best to run a home based business. Celina provides links to more detailed facts and advice, such as a free 7 day eCourse.

‘How to Run a Work from Home Business When You Have Small Children’ is geared mainly for mothers who are looking to get back into a viable working routine; it strives to encourage a proper balance between the need to support one’s children, yet earn money. As a stay at home Dad I was able to see the similarities with my life, and specific advice for Dads would definitely be welcome in any future edition.

It was refreshing to read statements such as ‘When you have childcare … Accept that you’re not going to get much done.’ This book is not about going on a guilt trip, but getting a business going. It is a supportive, compact and honest assessment of what can be done with a young family.

Best of all, the points are made clearly and concisely so by the end you should feel motivated and keen to try something new.

A refreshing read to refresh your career.”

Now I had better get on and do some working from home – once I’ve made a cup of tea and found some Malted Milk biscuits before my daughter eats them all.