Page 45 Review by Stephen
Bed-time reading at its very best, this new red-ruby-foil edition shines especially bright under lamplight
Plus any book of fish that finishes with "FIN" is bound to be all kinds of pun!
Did you once have a fly in your soup?
Or a frog in your throat?
What about a shark in your bath? How frightful!
That there might be three is unthinkable: a Papa Shark, a Mama Shark and a Baby Shark. A Baby Shark in dental braces! It's too, too funny! But not for young Dulcie, because Baby Shark's teeth are as sharp as can be, and they are all ever so hungry!
Dad forgot to pull the plug on last night's bath and let out all the water. Now the sea has swum up the house spout and brought all kinds of creatures with it!
I'll show you them soon once they've clogged up the room and made a right mess of the sink. But Dulcie's in deep if she can't think fast on her feet so it's lucky they're curious, don't you think?
Baby Shark wants to know what toothpaste is, and quick-witted Dulcie delights in showing them.
It is time to play the first game!
Oh, this is ever so clever! How do parents persuade reluctant children to do things they might otherwise avoid? Like brushing their teeth or taking a bath! Having greasy hair washed can elicit very loud wails because some girls don't wanna have fun! And oh, boys can be even worse: they'd rather grow as manky as a medieval monkey than have Mummy or Daddy wash under their arms. So how do parents do it? (How do they do anything, to be honest? I am in awe.) They turn everything into a game!
So it is here that little Dulcie has learned their lesson well, successively and successfully staving off the starving sharks in a ONE HUNDRED NIGHTS OF HERO sort of a way - not with stories, but with an elaborate set of bathroom rituals and gleeful games.
Look how they love brushing their teeth! With a tooth brush, a back brush and a - oh, Papa Shark, that is a loo brush, you ridiculous buffoon! Ewwww!
Then it's time for shampoo wigs and, hello, is that a crab?
I did mention, did I not, that the sharks were not the only animals that have swum up from the sea? Very soon the bathroom-based sea-creature carnival is joined by star fish, puffer fish, flying fish, eels, turtles, sea anemones and so many more salt-water critters. And, err, a frog, I think. They play with shaving foam, talcum powder and even lipstick.
Hey, frogs like lipstick! I never knew! (I love the snail's puckered lips, if you spot them.)
And that is what so much of this riotous fun is about: exploration for wide, shiny eyes! That's what delights our young ones: spotting all the oh-so-silly yet ever so witty details. Sarah McIntrye has made a career out of giving families value for money in JAMPIRES, PUG-A-DOODLE-DO and so much more (pop Sarah into our search engine - then please let her out to breathe!), spending days on each illustration which adults may only glance at for minutes but which our more inquisitive, discerning former selves would and will spend hours fixating upon!
I've drawn several diagrams showing how cleverly the three sharks are projected from the bath, aligned like waves or fountains in their "It's time to eat you!" interruptions, but you'll just have to discover those for yourselves.
I leave you instead with this truth: children are inquisitive, bursting with questions, and come fired with a feverish imagination that eludes most of us adults over time. This is precisely what this plays to, and why all your loved ones will relish it over and over again.
I haven't even told you about the elephant in the room, have I? No, not the bathroom; in the kitchen, silly! It's in the cereal - shhhhhh!
Top tip: give every kid's book a similarly wicked reprise!