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Friday, 9 September 2011

You, Me and Thing - The Curse of the Jelly Babies by Karen McCombie

The Curse of the Jelly Babies: Bk. 1 - You Me & Thing 1

Next-door neighbours Ruby and Jackson get the surprise of their lives when they discover a Thing living at the bottom of their gardens. And when Thing places a curse on the inhabitants of the new house that's been built over his old home, Ruby and Jackson find themselves up to their eyeballs in jelly babies, magic and big trouble. I never expected to be friends with a Thing. Well, you don't, do you? You usually think of friends being either boys or girls, or maybe even cute yappy dogs. Well, Thing certainly doesn't fit into any of those categories. Thing is just a...a...Actually, I'm not sure quite how to describe it. 'A sort of troll crossed with a fairy crossed with a squirrel?' Jackson suggested, after we first discovered Thing. 'I is not a squirrel,' Thing purred grumpily, twitching its squirrelly ears. 'And not a fairy or a trolly. Whatever they is.' By the way, I never expected to be friends with Jackson Miller either. I guess I've got a bit of explaining to do, about Jackson and about Thing. (Oh, and about curses and jelly babies too, And the magic. I mustn't forget the magic!) This title contains charming black and white line illustrations by Alex T. Smith.

This is the first book in a new series by Karen McCombie aimed at children aged 7+. Flicking through the book there are lovely black and white pencil illustrations by Alex T Smith and they told the story perfectly. Full of movement and sound and little sketches add to the interest of the page.

The story is told in the first person, Ruby, who is annoyed when a wood that surrounded her parents house is cut down and houses built. One morning she opens her curtains to be confronted by a boy in only his boxer shorts, picking his nose and with hip hop music blasting from his room. The day got worse when the same boy, Jackson, was in her class at school and when the teacher found they were neighbours, decided they could be neighbours in the classroom.  The 'friendship' was not a two way partnership until, one day, when they were both in their gardens, they heard a noise coming from a plastic bag just outside of their gardens. Following an investigation, they found 'the thing', a non-squirrel, with a tiny snout and a pair of round, panicked eyes.

Another thing I enjoyed about the book was the inclusion of parts written in Ruby's handwriting. These parts are particularly descriptive, using descriptive words and observations that only children would use.

I would recommend this book to girls age 7+, as it is the perfect book for early readers to progress on to and read to gain confidence, or for younger children to share with others at story time. 

I am looking forward to seeing more in the series, you, me and thing and it doesn't look like the wait will be too long as book 2 is due to be released in January 2012 and book 3 in July 2012.

Thank you to the publishers, Faber and Faber (Kids) for sending me the book to review.

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