Wednesday, 3 August 2011

What we’re reading… Jack and the Flumflum Tree by Julia Donaldson

Here at Book Festival HQ we’re lucky enough to have every book in the programme at our disposal. Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you some reviews of what us Book Festival folk have been reading. Today it’s one for the kids - Jack and the Flumflum Tree written by Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson with illustrations by David Roberts…

The hero of the tale, Jack, is tasked with going to the Isle of Blowyernose to seek out the fruit of the Flumflum tree – the only cure for his Grandmother’s Moozles (she’s is covered in large purple spots – EEK!).  

Accompanied by his pals Stu and Rose, and equipped with a patchwork sack full of objects kindly donated by his Granny, Jack sets sail on the open sea to a schnozzle shaped island. Overcoming shark infested waters, a leaky boat, a man overboard with balloons, chewing gum and a skipping rope, the trio succeed in fetching the fruit and curing Granny.

Julia Donaldson’s humorous rhyming text deals deftly with courage, adventure and teamwork and is a delight to read aloud. I’m sure the refrain ‘“Don’t get your knickers in a twist,” said Jack “Let’s have a look in the patchwork sack”’ will soon be a popular catchphrase for little ones and adults alike.

David Roberts’ illustration has a wonderful retro feel. From patchwork quilts to a rather fetching Fair Isle jumper, the pages are reminiscent of the homes of grandparents across the land. Bright sections of primary and complementary colours dominate the pages, along with wonderfully expressive human and animal characters. Don’t forget to try and spy the witty illustrative reference to one of Julia's other picture books. Clue: it rhymes with Buffalo…  

We are delighted that Julia is our Guest Selector for this year’s RBS Children’s Programme. She will be joining us on several occasions across the Festival period.