There are few sounds more life-enhancing than the uncontrollable chuckle of a small child; the one that emerges from deep in the belly, the one that lacks any self-conciousness, as if their whole being has been consumed by a giggle.
These days, I’m sad to say, I rarely induce such an effect on my daughter. In fact it’s quite the reverse. Already, aged six – six! – she has adopted the teenage eye-roll. My finest joke, my most carefully constructed witticism is met not with laughter, but with a look. A look and a drawn-out ‘Daaaad, you’re not funny’ (once she added ‘anymore’ to the end of this sentence. Oh, the agonies of parenthood).
Thankfully, our house is not completely bereft of laughter. Not since Dave Pigeon landed on our doorstep. This is a charmingly daft tale, guaranteed – even in early onset teenage six-year-olds – to induce those uncontrollable, carefree giggles. It follows the eponymous Dave who, alongside his friend Skipper, seeks to oust a nasty cat so they can have unfettered access to the house and, more importantly, the biscuits.
The relationship between Dave and Skipper shines through, illuminating the book. Dave thinks he is in charge, the ideas man, the leader – but succeeds only in stumbling from one disaster to another. There’s a real sense of Tom and Jerry slapstick to some of the scenes, as each chapter follows hapless plan after hapless plan.
The author, Swapna Haddow, certainly knows where to find the tickle spot and Sheena Dempsey’s illustrations ramp up the silliness even further (there’s a great drawing of Dave with his head stuck in a bottle – we had to temporarily put the back down while the giggling subsided).
Perfect for any young reader who likes a funny book – fans of Jeremy Strong or Dave Pilkey should take a look – and perfect for any parent who has just experienced an eye-roll, and a ‘Daaaad’.
A copy of the book was provided by the author.