OUR (last) TRIP TO THE MARKET
by Lorin Clarke, illustrated by Mitch Vane – Allen & Unwin, 2017
ages 2 to 10 / funny, picture books
Have you ever tried herding animals? Trying to get a group of them to go where you want is one of the most futile exercises in existence. Just as you're getting one to do what you want, all the others break free and scatter. It’s my experience that goats are particularly difficult. At times, kids are no easier(!) and Our (last) Trip to the Market embodies this experience.
A mother decides to take her 6 children on a trip to the market. It starts off quite pleasantly, with everyone delighted by the sights, smells and sounds of the market:
‘Oh, the glorious smells from the food all around us.
Just stand here and breathe in the air.
The doughnuts and veggies and coffee and nuts…'
But things quickly get out of hand as the children start to explore and scatter:
“Annabelle, please put that down.”
“Put that wheelbarrow back over there!”
“Maximilian, that isn’t yours!”
The children get into everything; picking up watermelon, dancing on the table of oranges and having a delightful sensory experience in the barrel of lentils! But the mother is amazing! She takes everything in her stride without losing her temper or her head and manages to get everything they came for and the kids back to the car without a tantrum or anyone going missing.
A small reading hint:
I found that the multitude of feelings expressed on the faces of the onlookers at the market were really useful for conversations about empathy, noticing what others are feeling and how our behaviour can affect those around us.
This is an energetic, fun and relatable book. The pictures are vibrant and quirky, adding their own breadth and depth to the story. And the story embodies what every parent has experienced—the equal mix of delight and terror when taking a group of children… anywhere!
All in all, it's a great-fun read for both children and parents.