What are my kids reading this May?

‘You’re Called WHAT?!’ by author Kes Gray and Illustrator Nikki Dyson

Another hilarious picture book from the talented Kes Gray, who successfully manages to fill a whole picture book and sustain the laughter on one concept – simply brilliant! His writing is so light, succinct and funny that he speaks to both children and their parents and I find my kids and I often picking up his books at bedtime for a collective giggle.

This new book, ‘You’re Called What?’ has the same conversational style as his well known, almost classic work ‘Oi Frog!’. He keeps the reader entertained with numerous animals throughout and ends the book with his notable format, a well-timed punch line. This book though has the added bonus of introducing children to lots of new weird and wonderful animals from our world, such as the Tasselled Wobbegong and Pink Fairy Armadillo. A super fun fact page at the back of the book kept my older boys amused for ages after reading the book as they devoured the details and tried thinking up other animals that could have gone into the book.

On a more serious note however, there is a lovely discussion point that can be drawn from the book about teasing, name calling and how we feel about ourselves. How a name defines us feels particularly poignant to me after deciding to use my maiden name for all of my writing rather than my family name. I have written since I was a little girl and it felt right to let my inner child take front place on the cover of my books rather than my older self. But it was a difficult decision none the less. I can see this book being used in schools for purposes other than ‘a good laugh’ such as circle-time and first day nerves too where children are faced with the daunting task of introducing themselves and their names.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Kes Gray at a writing workshop and we discussed the joy of working with an illustrator who really ‘gets’ your work. Nikki Dyson, certainly seems the perfect match for Kes, she is bold, humorous, colourful and her work is full of expression. If you want an amusing picture book with a colourful cast to read with your kids, this one is a winner!

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