It was as I settled down to write about My Big Shouting Day the other week, and started thinking about that crop of treasures nominated for the 2012 Roald Dahl comedy prize that I realised that somehow, unbelievably, I had never ever written about Oh No George (oh no Carie!)
And that is an oversight that must be corrected before we go any further, because Oh No George is a gem.
In my alter ego as Super-duper-super-most-amazing-mummy-ever, who I’m afraid to say exists rather more in my head as the standard that I’m falling short of rather than anything that I produce in reality, I of course have endless time for reading endless stories, regardless of length, standard of writing and the existence of other time sensitive activities within the household, and would never ever choose a story from the shelf on the basis that I’m tired and it doesn’t have too many words. In that particular vision incidentally the house would also be decluttered and spotless, the children perpetually cherubic and I would have mastered a personal style that combined dreamy earth mother, with the ability to repel sticky handprints and unexplained stains at 10 feet.
But as it is, well I’m Carie, the children, whilst truly wonderful, also have moments of impish pixie infiltration, and no one likes burnt supper, so a little book it is.
But to single out Oh No George purely on the merit of being short does it a massive disservice. It’s a beautiful example of really tight editing, of knowing exactly how many words you need to tell the story, and letting what isn’t said, as much as what is, do the work for you.
George is trying to be good. He’s promised to be good while Harris his owner pops out for a minute, but then he spots a cake, and then there’s Cat to be chased, and some lovely soil to dig and…
…Oh No George!
Harris isn’t very happy, but they decide to go out for a walk after Harris finishes the tidying up, presumably to prevent any more chaos (anyone else find that vaguely familiar?!), and George is very good.
He leaves the cake, and the soil, and even the cat, but then he smells something irresistible. A rubbish bin.
Can he resist? Can he?
We’ll never know for sure because it’s left entirely open to your imagination. From Kitty’s giggles every time we get to the final page I rather suspect she foresees a litter-strewn future, and from the look in George’s eye she might just be on to him.
And if you have a favourite, or just something fun your little ones have enjoyed reading lately please do join us. The linky is always open for the whole week so there’s plenty of time. And so, without further ado, it’s over to you to tell me what we should be reading!