Cautionary Tales in Picture Books


When deciding what books I’m going to blog about on a weekly basis, there are so many factors that influence me but one of the biggest factors is my children. They often read my book post before I have a chance to even look at it and are quite adamant that I should write about books they’ve really loved.  My 8 year old daughter is currently enjoying ‘Jim a Cautionary Tale’ by Hilaire Belloc with exquisite illustrations by Mini Grey at school and demanded more cautionary tales. So I set off to try and discover more of these tales for her to devour. In amongst my book post I found these fantastic books that are decidedly dark and delicious with just enough wickedness to delight and entertain even very young children.

There’s No Such Thing As A Snappenpoop – Jeanne Willis & Matt Saunders


Little Brother wants to join the fun but Big Brother won’t let him play. To try and get rid of his annoying Little Brother he sends him off on seemingly impossible tasks “fetch me a unicorn…a lion with wings…and a triceratops.” But each time Little Brother brings back the impossible and demands that he be allowed to play. Failing miserably to succeed in getting rid of him, Big Brother sends him on one last mission to find the scariest monster a Snappenpoop, knowing fine well there is no such thing as a Snappenpoop…..or is there?

Jeanne Willis has created a brilliantly funny tale designed to show the danger of being unkind and mean. We know that Big Brother is bound to get his comeuppance and the twist at the end of the tale will definitely  provoke glee in the reader. Matt Saunders stunning, vibrant illustrations are wondrously dark and foreboding creating just the right atmosphere, building tension as the story nears its conclusion. An excellent book to stimulate children’s imaginations, encouraging them to create their own quests for weird and wonderful creatures and designing their own scariest monsters. A marvellous addition to any school library.

Lucinda Belinda Melinda McCool – Jeanne Willis & Tony Ross


Lucinda Belinda Melinda McCool is the most beautiful girl in the whole of the school but inside lies a girl who likes nothing better than to point out the faults of everyone she knows. “You have ears like an ape…kindly get rid of your warts….your bottom’s too big for those shorts.” Nobody is safe when it comes her thoughtless and harsh comments not even the terrible, hideous beast who lives in the woods. But looks are not everything as Lucinda is about to discover…

This hilarious tale is a joy to read aloud, I loved watching the children’s reactions every time Lucinda passed judgement on everyone’s appearances. Clearly understanding that her advice was more hurtful than helpful, we all agreed that she really was not a nice person at all. There was an audible gasp when Lucinda told the monster that she was “better off dead” than being ugly and messy. Providing fantastic opportunities to build towards the dramatic ending, the dialogue is bold and exaggerated and so much fun capturing the fierceness of the monster before Lucinda meets her early demise. Tony Ross’s illustrations are witty and hilarious, his wonderful expressions portray the personalities of the characters perfectly.  A superb treat of a tale which deserves to be shared over and over again.

Thank you to Little Tiger Press and Andersen Press for sending my copies of these fantastic books.

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