As you’d expect from bestselling and popular Australian picture book creator, Nick Bland, his latest offering, The Aunties Three is a riot of colour and fun.
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK.
Pack up your games, dismantle your toys,
practise your manners and muffle your noise.
Straighten your face, where your smile used to be,
for coming this way are The Aunties Three!
Although I have to admit those Aunties Millicent, Alma and Ingrid are downright scary, Nick Bland still manages to bring hilarity into the picture – replacing fear with awe.
Even as adults we can relate to visitors you have ‘behave’ for – the ones you don’t smile in front of, “burp or sniffle or sneeze.”
Speak when you’re spoken to, never before,
take a deep breath and open the door.
The kids in this book are full of fun until the aunties arrive. As soon as there’s a knock on the door they try and put on their best manners, but no matter how much the children try to impress, it’s just not going to happen.
These Aunties are not just scary looking, they’re bossy and demand tea, shoe polishing, foot rubs and sweets.
First the cat steals Aunt Millicent’s hat, then Aunt Alma sits on the broken chair, then there’s the cooking accident that puts paid to Aunty three who is determined to stay for tea.
I loved the hilarious and expressive illustrations The Aunties Three. There’s so much movement and liveliness in these full colour pics. I loved the facial expressions on the characters – the fear of the children, the arrogance of the aunts. There’s the quirkiness of what the kids are wearing – the toddler dressed in a pig’s outfit, the boy with the colander on his head. Added to that are the background details; the flying books, the cat drinking from the milk jug.
The rhyming text is engaging and hilarious and moves the story along at a frantic pace that will keep young readers mesmerised.
I also love the way this book ends. Nick Bland builds up the tension with the Auntie’s arrival but the ending has an optimistic resolution that would allay the fears of any child who might have been worried about fierce aunties like this turning up at their front door.
The Aunties Three is published by Scholastic for ages 4+