Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Babyliography LIV

Polly Dunbar, Something Fishy

2018 / Library book / 32 pages / UK

**

I like to break out of the toddler stacks, but there's not much point reading this to someone who can't work out the unspoken scenario for themselves, and it's not a situation she'll experience. I'm not going through all that again. Still, a cat craving and graphically eating a fish helps that inevitable conversation along. Attenborough next.


Unknown, Pokemon: Where's Pikachu? – A Search and Find Book

2019 / Puzzle book / 32 pages / UK

***

Licensed Where's Wally knock-offs haven't moved on in the quarter century since Where's Sonic. Pretty spreads, but why do they all take the simplified route? Give the kids some credit and their parents more peace.


Jo Lodge, Chomp! Chomp! I'm a Shark!

2022 / Library book / 10 pages / UK

**

Several species of sharks chomp and perform less exciting movements. Producing so many minor variations on the same book to cater for kids' differing taste in predators is evidently a good business model.


Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson, Owl Babies

1992 / Read by a bloke on Teletubbies / 32 pages / UK

***

Abandoned babies learn to be self-reliant.


Various, The Hutchinson Treasury of Stories to Read Aloud

Collected 2003 / Hardback / 324 pages / Various

*****

What a keeper. Early favourites:
  • The Letter (Frog and Toad Are Friends)
  • Titch
  • The Stinky Cheese Man
  • Harry the Dirty Dog

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Alrightreads: Films

Michael Bonifer and artists, The Art of Tron

1982 / Ebook / 63 pages / USA

***

The pictures are too small and optimised to make it a luxurious art book. It's more a general making-of that naturally emphasises the pioneering visuals, because what else is there?


Christopher Brown, The Official Ghostbusters Training Manual: A Guide to Catching Ghosts

1985 / Ebook / 24 pages / USA

**

The corny conceit for a picture book, interesting merely for being early Ghostbusters merchandise for kids, before we became the prime targets and they really went to town. The Class Five Full Roaming Vapor was already tipped for breakout stardom. Winston does not feature.


Tom Ryall, Blackmail

1993 / Ebook / 96 pages / UK

***

Primarily the historical context for the early British talkie before the customary linear commentary on every choice made. It repeats the same points over and over, film criticism is a piece of piss.


S. S. Prawer, Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht

2004 / Ebook / 88 pages / Germany

***

Like a fool, I'd watched the arty vampire remake without contemplating its basis in Silent Generation trauma and cosmopolitan psychogeography. Whether insightful or over-the-top, it was nice to revisit futile academia without the pressure.


Various, Planet of the Apes: The Original Topps Trading Card Series

2017 / Ebook / 480 pages / USA

***

Sparse trivia accompanying repetitive imagery, especially when it gets to the TV series, but I love that these paltry exhibitions exist for those who really care.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Babyliography LIII

Unknown, Spot's Slide and Seek Funfair

2021 / Library book / 10 pages / UK

**

Not the old-school Funfair one with flaps that was actually by Eric Hill, but a new generation of more annoying and ridiculously obscured push/pull tabs, most of which just extend the scene unremarkably.


Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt, You Choose

2003 / Library book / 32 pages / UK

****

We'd read the Peppa Pig bastardisation previously, and it unsurprisingly works better without awkwardly-appropriated branding. She has plenty of multiple choice in her daily life already, from breakfasts to playgrounds and library books, but she seemed to enjoy making endless inconsequential decisions with no apparent logic. It's a shame they don't conglomerate into a unique story at the end, but it's not like it's on a computer, is it? Hang on, maybe that's my job.


Ingela P. Arrhenius, Where's Mrs Queen?

2020 / Library book / 12 pages / Sweden

*

I didn't choose it. In her defence, she thought it was some kind of princess book.


Jo Lodge, Snap! Snap! I'm a Crocodile!

2022 / Library book / 10 pages / UK

**

Animals open and close their mouths and flick their tongues a bit. Scrapes a point for comparatively obscure wildlife, there aren't enough piranhas in toddler literature.


Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Tales from Acorn Wood: Cat's Cookbook

2021 / Library book / 12 pages / UK/Germany

***

A cat and mouse learn how to conduct research. The foreboding undercurrent sadly came to naught when they ended up making macaroni cheese, but this is a pretty good series as they go.

Friday, 5 August 2022

Alrightreads: Creepy

Various, The Creepypasta Collection: Modern Urban Legends You Can't Unread

Collected 2016 / Audiobook / 301 pages / Various

***

Variable works by passionate weirdos, collected in a book with credited authors, like horror stories would be, but we mustn't call them that.

Faves: Max Lobdell's 'Teeny Tiny' & 'Licks from a Bear,' Matt Dymerski's 'Psychosis'


Various, The Creepypasta Collection, Volume 2: 20 Stories. No Sleep.

Collected 2017 / Audiobook / 304 pages / Various

*

Distinctly cheesier and less accomplished than the first helping, which is more in the spirit, really.

Faves: Ashley Franz Holzmann's 'Slumber Party,' Vincent V. Cava's 'Neptune's Fancy'


Various, The Best of /r/LetsNotMeet, Vol. 1: The First Four Years

Collected 2015 / Ebook / 42 pages / Various

***

"Creepy" reddit has long been my read-only trashy magazine fix, but it doesn't adapt well to print, especially when the volume is as slight as the content. A few classics though.


Various, No Sleep: The Creepiest Tales, Real Life Encounters, and Paranormal Experiences Contributed by the Reddit Community

Collected 2015 / Ebook / 111 pages / Various

***

Not a bad collection, and the less worthwhile posts are short and skimmable, but if you're going to copy and paste a bunch of favorite posts, why not share your whole archive? I should have kept my own.


Jan PieĊ„kowski, Haunted House

1979 / Ebook / 12 pages / Poland

*****

The pop-up book perfected, around the level of WereBears on the list of things I wish I'd had as a child. Sadly too irresponsibly disturbing to add to the family library just yet, but bookmarked for future corruption.

Monday, 1 August 2022

Alrightgames: Political Map of the World Puzzle

Educa Puzzle 1500: Political Map of the World

2020 / Jigsaw puzzle / Spain

****

I picked the worst year to get back into jigsaws, but this was still too tempting jutting out of the charity shop shelf. The flags mini game passed a few hours, I'll get back to you about the rest in a few years. A dangerously inaccurate historical map would have been prettier, but I can imagine that a vaguely contemporary one will have educational benefit, if I end up using this as a punishment tool. You can go out when you've done Argentina.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Babyliography LII

Tony Ross, I Want My Mum

1999 / Library book / 32 pages / UK

**

The Little Princess isn't the most likeable character in picture literature at the best of times. This one was particularly irritating; a re-read wasn't requested.


Emily Gravett, Monkey and Me

2007 / Library book / 32 pages / UK

**

A limited parade of animals with a repetitive refrain. It has the whiff of being scientifically formulated to appeal to the youngest audience, but she wasn't particularly impressed.


Jez Alborough, Hug

2001 / Library book / 32 pages / UK

**

He's such a cheery chappie, we always forget that she's grown out of Bobo books and demands more from her reading than unadorned monosyllablic cries. This one's worse than most due to the neglect factor.


Jez Alborough, Tall

2005 / Library book / 34 pages / UK

***

This repetition at least has the sense of vertical progress and a nice, unspoken message at the end that may be bogstandard, but could serve as a kind of Turing test if you suspect your storyteller may be an android.


Emily Gravett, Again!

2011 / Library book / 32 pages / UK

***

I enjoyed the meta gimmick of the disintegrating bedtime story and related to the exhausted parent, but leaving the anger unresolved was a downer. Still, I wouldn't mind reading it Again.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Ranking the Led Zeppelin albums

I came to Led Zeppelin too late and wizened for the legendary band to have much personal significance, or even to remember that listening to them is an option most of the time, however much I enjoyed it. Their discography is even more concise than The Who's, but I was similarly indifferent about reaching the end or even wading out much beyond the ones I really liked.

This is no passionate affair, but should prove to be a long, neglectful relationship. It's The Top 8 Led Zeppelin Albums!

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Alrightreads: TV X

Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer, Bachelor Boys: The Young Ones Book

1984 / Ebook / 128 pages / UK

***

I didn't get my hopes up, but got into the spirit and enjoyed the limits of revulsion being tested, at least. It's credible that they'd actually bother writing this shit, since the disbelief is pretty securely suspended already.


Tom Hill, Donna Friedman and Chris Reccardi, Pat the Stimpy: The Nitty Gritty Touchy Smelly Book

1993 / Ebook / 14 pages / USA

***

Flimsy 4D fun, even if you have to use your imagination.


Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan, Father Ted: The Craggy Island Parish Magazines

1998 / Ebook / 96 pages / Ireland

***

It's nice to see more of Father Crilly's day job, and his fleeting interests, grudges and other distractions. Less so the overwrought island-building and expanded ecclesiastical universe.


Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, The League of Gentlemen: A Local Book for Local People

2000 / Ebook / 128 pages / UK

****

This might have been in my collection from the time if they'd gone with less marketable packaging, but the unconvincingly literate Tubbs is merely our curator of precious paraphernalia and deeper local insights.


Ina Rae Hark, Star Trek

2008 / Ebook / 160 pages / USA

****

An OG critical fan realistically reviews and contrasts the franchise (to 2008), with the bizarrely rare focus on who was actually writing it. It avoids the films entirely, in humorously literal compliance with the TV Classics banner worthy of Data.

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Alrightgames: Pop and Hop

Pop and Hop

1965 (2016 version) / Board game / 2-4 players / USA

***

Cheap and nasty Frustration  that was nevertheless nostalgically irresistible at charity shop prices. Flimsy pieces and a borderline unplayable board (that doesn't even match the design on the box) are technically drawbacks, but they add to the annoying spirit.

I was surprised that we managed one go around with the toddler, all four would be pushing it. I skipped popping a 6 to start, since I wanted to at least play the thing before it became weaponised.

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

Babyliography LI

Jez Alborough, Yes

2006 / Library book / 40 pages / UK

***

She was pleased to find another Bobo book, but annoyed by the minimalist dialogue, asking "can you read it?" when I forgot to elaborate with stage directions.


Camilla Reid and Ingela P. Arrhenius, Peekaboo Chick

2022 / Library book / 10 pages / UK/Sweden

**

One of the later and less memorable clones in the neverending series, it wandered off topic fairly quickly. Also, the front slide was in the middle. Presumably someone messed up the test cover and they didn't care enough to fix it.


John John Bajet, Bedtime for Baby Shark: Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo

2019 / Library book / 24 pages / USA

*

One of presumably endless themed variants. Acceptable to read to your toddler in the library (quietly, with appropriate shame) between flap books, but you wouldn't invite it into your home.


Annabelle Lynch, Big Cats

2016 / Library book / 24 pages / UK

**

I'll keep an eye out for more Tadpole Learners, dispensing wildlife facts with large, friendly letters and not sugar-coating the nasty parts. She found it a bit lacking in narrative though, so provided her own.


Eric Hill, Spot Goes to the Park

1991 / Library book / 20 pages / UK

***

By this point in the run, the flaps are arbitrary, but he's toned down the anxiety. Though when Spot's ball lands on an elephant's newspaper, I had an unpleasant flashback of an aggro beach hippo.