Adventures of a Free-From Clothbum Mum!

Cloth nappies, dairy-free living, reviews and parental ramblings!

Three Brilliant Books! ‘Tamara Small and the Monster’s Ball’, ‘The Fearsome Beastie’ and ‘The Jelly that wouldn’t wobble’

on October 15, 2012

Ever since Monkey was really tiny, I’ve shared books with him. Obviously, when he was really little he stared (slightly cross-eyed) at all the lovely, bright colours – but as time passed, he became more and more fascinated with them. From quite early on, he’s loved turning pages of books (more than the actual content at times – we can go through a book many, MANY times just turning and turning pages…it’s apparently very intriguing stuff!)

But recently there’s been a bit of a change in what he seems to be more focused in. He’s paying far more attention to all the little, more intricate details on the page and has suddenly got fascinated by real books. What I mean by that is books with paper pages as opposed rather than board books. I was a little concerned at first as all I could picture was him quite happily ripping through book after book and whooping with delight (he adores sitting and ripping paper), so I was very cautious when he was around paperbacks.

So, when I was offered the chance to review three gorgeous books, I knew that he’d thoroughly enjoy himself (although Mummy would have to keep them at arm’s length from him).

The first book we looked at was Tamara Small and the Monster’s Ball , by Giles Paley-Phillips (illustrated by Gabriele Antonini)


If was using this within a classroom (or with an older child) then I would say it’s perfect for someone who is becoming more fluent in reading (although there are more challenging words for an older reader to tackle) as it really captures the imagination with superb rhymes and wonderful illustrations. In this book, Tamara isn’t able to sleep and gets taken by a monster. It turns out that she gets to go and join in the funky and fun-filled Monster’s Ball and the illustrations (combined with the beautifully-written prose) show the monsters, ghouls and other ‘scary’ characters to be actually funny and friendly! My little man giggled at all the pictures and particularly seemed to like one little purple monster that had three eyes! This book has a great feel to it and the illustrations towards the beginning insinuate a rather scary, eerie feel to the book which means that the friendliness of the monsters is a lovely, unexpected little twist!

We then looked another book by the same author/illustrator. This one, The Fearsome Beastie was the winner of The People’s Book Prize and is a wonderful book.


This is a modern take on the fairy tales of old – a Beastie is roaming the snow-covered streets, gobbling up children that cross his path. The day is eventually saved by Granny wielding a rather large axe and creating a yummy Beastie stew! Whilst the fact that this book is written in highly-entertaining, well-crafted rhyming couplets is something that went completely over my little Monkey’s head, the rhythmic pattern of the story entranced him and he settled into me quite contentedly, listening all the way to the end of the story. Again, the pictures fascinated him and he pointed out all the children to me with lots of chattering!

I can see this book being a really great addition to a classroom to use alongside older fairy tales – it would be a great comparison tool and could be used with most children in primary schools.

The final book that we were lucky enough to be sent was The Jelly that wouldn’t wobble by Angela Mitchell (illustrated by Sarah Horne), which has been nominated for The People’s Book Prize


In this rather wacky book, it’s Princess Lolly’s 89th birthday and she gets presented with a jelly. But the jelly is problematic – it just doesn’t wobble! At all! So all the guests and members of her household try to get the jelly to give a little wibble and a shake. But it won’t! Young children will absolutely love this book as it gets more and more madcap with the turn of each page and the battle of wills between the jelly and the princess is really funny! My little Monkey didn’t really sit still for this story (it’s a bit too old for him at the moment) but loved looking at all the pictures. It was a little disconcerting at how much he licked his lips when he saw the jelly, but very funny when he tried to lick the page! I’m sure that over the next few years when we revisit the book he’ll get more and more from each reading! This is a great book and throughly deserves the accolades that it has received!

Overall I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed all three of these books and little Master Clothbum got a lot of pleasure out of looking at the pictures with me. At the moment, I think our favourite is ‘The Fearsome Beastie’ due to the way in which my little man responded to the rhyming couplets (he seemed to be swept along by the rhythmic pattern) but I’m sure that as he grows he’ll get even more out of each of the books!

I was sent the books for reviewing purposes but have received no payment. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own


2 responses to “Three Brilliant Books! ‘Tamara Small and the Monster’s Ball’, ‘The Fearsome Beastie’ and ‘The Jelly that wouldn’t wobble’

  1. Cassie says:

    I ADORE The Monster’s Ball and so does my nephew. I’ll have to get the other two from the library for story time this week! Thank you for the great recommendations.

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