Book Review: The Aunties Three by Nick Bland

With his hilarious story-line, interesting characters and gorgeous illustrations, Nick Bland has created an absolute winner with The Aunties Three. It is sure to have aunties within real families arguing over which auntie is which.  His wonderful sense of humour shows in each and every word and paintbrush stroke.

Nick has written an impeccable rhyme with a rhythm that allows words to simply roll off your tongue, making it a brilliant book to read aloud to a group of children. It is so much fun to read over and over again, and not just because you enjoy hearing your children laugh. Nick’s use of rhythm and emphasis has made it terribly easy for the reader to find their convincing character voice (or maybe I’m just a little too good at being a cranky aunt).

Get rid of you giggle and banish your whim.

Put a dress onto her and a tie onto him.

Bring out the biscuits and ready the tea,

For behind the door are The Aunties Three’

On the first pages of this story we are greeted with scantily-dressed children running amok, blowing bubbles, riding bikes indoors, drawing on walls and being hoisted to the ceiling. Ice cream is melting on the carpet and toys are strewed all over the house.  This is a place where children are allowed to be children, but not for long.

There is a KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK. at the door. Three aunties who expect children to be seen and not heard are waiting at the door.

But, they’re in for a big surprise.

Three high-spirited children are trying to reclaim order in their house as they prepare to host a visit by their three demanding aunties. Two of the siblings frantically get dressed and yank some flowers from a plant pot as a welcoming gift, while the youngest little cherub, with his pants on his head, is still drawing on the wall.

The children are just gorgeous; the type that you just want to pick up and squeeze. Nick Bland has a knack for illustrating children so beautifully. Their expressions are priceless and full of emotion and his clever text portrays their feelings of suspense, fear and relief.  They’re trying hard to please but very innocently, and with the help of a mischievous cat and an exploding can of baked beans, they drive out their aunties one by one.

On the closing page someone else arrives at the door, and smiles return to the children’s faces.

The full page illustrations are alive with colour. The use of colour and proportion capture the snotty personalities of the aunts and the innocence of the children. Nick is also the king of detail. Every inch of the page contributes to the story. Your eyes will want to scour each and every page so as not to miss out on a single element. Even the text has been thoughtfully placed as though part of the décor. Words are bordered by blinds, tablecloths and picture frames.

I beg my daughter to read this book each day. She loves is too. Together we roar with laughter each time we read it, and she particularly likes to call out’ Ka-boom!’ It reads like a comedy of errors, and following in the paths of classics such as Grug and The Gruffalo this is one picture book I’d love to seen adapted to the stage for children.

Book Details:

Author/Illustrator: Nick Bland

ISBN:978-1741697919

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Scholastic Australia, May 2011

RRP: A$24.99

Recommended for ages 2.5+

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