Tip Tap Went the Crab

So I’ve been impatiently waiting for the follow-up to Wow, Said the Owl because I am honestly totally in love with that book (see review from last year).  How could Tim Hopgood manage anything so wonderful ever again?  Excitedly I opened Tip Tap Went the Crab anticipating the same amazing surprises I had when first reading through Wow, Said the Owl.  And while it was beautiful, both in illustration and text, I did feel a little sense of, well it’s not quite as fabulous is it?

The idea of the book is that a crab decides she’s sick of her rock pool, so she wanders into the ocean and in the process counts to 9 (one noisy seagull, two sleepy sea lions, through to a shoal of eight fish and nine silent sharks) and then on her return to her very own rockpool we get to count to ten (this is a cute plot development) and then it’s over, bar a final page which lists all the numbers, and you get to count to ten in a look-and-find illustration. Cool, but to me this book didn’t quite have the magic of the colours that the little owl discovers as the sun dawns and the day proceeds.

But it was still very fabulous, so home it came, and it was that night’s story book. And here’s the important moment in this review: three-year-old Tom (he’s almost exactly three years old) was transfixed from the first page to the last.  And just at the point where I had felt a sense of let-down (there’s nothing conceptually new about the final page) Tom’s face lit up as bright as day: “All the numbers!!!”, he exclaimed, busily setting about naming every one, and then looking for the ten gold coins, just as the author enjoins us to do.

And then the next night he wanted to read it again.

And then the next night he wanted to read it again.

I could continue to repeat this sentence for a few more paragraphs, because ever since we first read Tip Tap, Went the Crab, it has been the only book Tom has wanted to read as his bedtime story. He has sat with it by himself, poring over each number on each page, and tsking to himself when a page is without a number (sometimes the plot develops without needing to count anything on that page!), and of course, exclaiming exultantly every time we get to that final “all the numbers” page.

I think I’d forgotten the joy that orderliness brings to children (all the numbers unfolding one after the other) and the joy that recognising numbers brings to toddlers (think Sesame St number of the day). Tim Hopgood knows his readership: Tip Tap, Went the Crab is a very worthy successor to the stunning debut last year of Wow, Said the Owl, and now, of course, I’m on tenterhooks all over again*.

*expect an update sometime in 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s