Monday, 1 April 2013

A for Alfie

Shirley Hughes wrote many stories under a vague heading of 'Tales of Trotter Street', that focussed on the ordinary lives of a group of families, most significantly Alfie and Annie Rose, a little boy and his baby sister. What is lovely about the books is the sense of community, people all knowing each other and being involved in each other's lives; they are very much ordinary life, about the lives of the children. And the pictures too; I love that the drawings, also done by Hughes, are very realistic, with lots of details and things to point out as you read along. In this book, 'Alfie Gets in First', Alfie finds himself in a scary situation that he manages to resolve.
So, Alfie gets home with his mum from the shops, so far so good, but then he slams the door shut behind him:

Mum is on the outside and the keys are inside. The neighbours come over and they all discuss what to do, Alfie can't reach the latch and is getting a bit upset. I like the way the book is laid out, the outside world on one page and then Alfie behind the door on the other page:
While the adults are getting all complicated and organised on the outside Alfie has his own ideas ... and manages to solve the problem by himself:
I like this story because it encourages children to see that they can have answers too, that adults aren't the only people who can fix things. While as adults we know that life can be very complicated and often uncertain I think that having a happy ending is essential. I think that is an important part of making children feel that problems have solutions and that it reassures them that life is predictable and secure. 
In the spirit of A (some post are going to involve numerous books because I couldn't decide which one to go with, sorry) I am also going to mention briefly Anno's Journey by Mitsumasa Anno which is my most favourite wordless book, and if you are interested you can pop back in time and read the review I wrote last October.
(Go to the list here and visit other A to Z Bloggers.)


  1. Awwwww it's adorable!! I think having the two halves of the book illustrate Alfie inside and mum and neighbours outside is BRILLIANT!! Thanks for sharing such a sweet book! Take care

  2. Very sweet, and yes the illustrations were helpful!! I love books like this too!

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I love kidslit. YA writer here ;).

  4. Thanks for visiting my blog! I will check back to find more English books...ones that I have never seen before and hope to add to my list of books to purchase. Happy A-Z April :)


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