Friday, August 28, 2015

Book review: A Squash and a Squeeze by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Written by: Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by: Axel Scheffler
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Authors Summary:
“Wise old man, won’t you help me, please?
My house is a squash and a squeeze.”
This was my first book, published in 1993, but it started its life earlier still, as a song which I wrote for children’s television. There is also a Big Book, a board book, a Braille edition, a Let’s Read edition, a 20th anniversary edition with early drawings from Axel’s sketchbook and audio version with Imelda Staunton, Steven Pacey and Julia which includes both story and song (I sing the part of the little old lady!)
A Squash and a Squeeze features in a Scamp play called Tiddler and other Terrific Tales which frequently tours the UK. For performing details visit
"a bit of a classic… a goat on the bed and a cow on the table tapping out a jig? My readers collapsed in heaps, and then had to have it read again. And again."  Vivian French in The Guardian.

The kids and I are exploring a lot of Julia Donaldson’s books this year. So far the boys’ favourite is The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom. We have these in both paperback and audiobooks formats. Whenever we travel in the car, the kids will definitely want to hear either one of these books. I think my eldest has even memorized the whole Gruffalo book by now.

A squash and a squeeze is a simple story of a woman who thought her house was too small and had asked the advice of a wise old man. The old man then had asked the woman to bring one animal after another into her house and then take the animals out again one by one. It was not until all the animals were out of her house did the old woman realized that her house was not small after all.

I really liked this book. The story has a nice rhyme to it and I quite enjoyed reading it to the boys. The illustrations were colourful and bright and the kids loved asking about the animals. However, the kids didn’t seem to be as engaged with the story as much as they were with The Gruffalo or Room on the Broom. I’ve tried reading this book to them a couple of times already but they were just not interested in the story but were more inquisitive on the animals. Maybe stories of little old ladies don’t appeal to them? Oh dear...

Regardless of how the kids reacted to the book, I personally think this was an enjoyable book to read.

In the author’s website, Donaldson mentioned that this book started off as a song for a children’s television show. So I googled and got a video of it on YouTube of the song which is sung by none other than the author herself. I’m going to try sharing the video with the kids instead and see if the kids will like the video better.

We have a couple more books from Julia Donaldson which I haven’t started reading to the kids yet but I really like her work so far. I gave this book a 3 over 5 in Goodreads.

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