Walker Books, $24.95
There is often a message at the heart of each of Polly Dunbar’s picture books, but it’s always conveyed with humour and a bit of a wink to the reader. It also helps that each of her six characters are completely adorable.
There’s Tilly, a sensible, sweet natured little girl, Pru the chicken, Doodle the alligator, Tumpty the elephant, Hector the pig and Tiptoe the rabbit. Together they live in a small yellow house and have small-scale adventures that are modelled on real-life toddler traits.
The six books in the collection each focus on a particular character and theme. In Doodle Bites, everyone learns an invaluable lesson – don’t bite anyone, ever.
The story begins with Doodle waking up one morning “feeling bitey”; suddenly nothing is safe, not Doodle’s breakfast bowl, not the mail and not… Tumpty’s bottom. Soon there are tears, remonstrations, apologies and lots of sticking plaster.
Dunbar’s illustrations are fresh, simple and she’s remarkably skilled at imbuing each of her characters with loads of personality and emotion. The text is clipped, nothing fancy, but considering the books are pitched at toddlers, the tone, language and cheeky humour are spot on.
Doodle Bites is a sweet, warm and very funny book with loads of appeal.
You can check out Polly Dunbar’s website here and the other titles in the series are: Happy Hector, Pretty Pru, Where’s Humpty?, Hello, Tilly and Good Night, Tiptoe.