Mi wnes i weld mamoth / I did see a mammoth! - Alex Willmore [adapt. Casia Wiliam]
*For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of web page*
(suggested) reading age: 5+
(suggested) interest age: 3-6
Genre: #ficition #funny #bilingual
Usually, at this time of year I’m on a mad dash looking for books to give as gifts to the little ones in the family. This year is no different. The girl is no trouble, but the boys are harder to please where books are concerned. I’m looking for a book to make us laugh. Last year, Disco Dolig Dwl won, but this year I’m thinking Mi wnes i weld mamoth/I did see a mammoth. Great choice for a stocking filler.
I’m not normally as keen on Christmas books, but this isn’t a Christmas one per se, but it does have snow in it, so ticks that box as well.
Don't think you’re going to get anything deep and meaningful here; just lots of zany fun and lots and lots of unimpressed penguins.
Welcome to the Antarctic!
On an expedition to the Antarctic, a brave crew is battling the cold in order to study penguins. Many, many penguins. But for one young adventurer, our feathered friends just don’t cut it. He’s not at all interested in birds, oh no, because he's got his sights set on something far bigger!
Oh no he isn’t... oh yes he is!
And there you have it with the plot pretty much. (see, told you there wasn’t anything deep and meaningful!) It's a funny story, and one that's sure to appeal to kids, especially when the creature pops up from time to time in ever-whackier situations. Although the boy desperately maintains that he saw something, the adults simply refuse to believe him, either thinking he’s crying wolf, or just being down right patronizing! (children will surely identify with the whole adults not listening thing) It’s an old, tried and tested idea (like they do in panto) that adults don’t take children seriously. It’s very effective.
Of course, everything changes when they all finally see a M..m.. m MAMMOTH!!!
Told you so!
The book is bright, modern and energetic, and feels almost like reading a comic. It's not a long story and it’ll make for a quick story before bed. You’ll have plenty of fun looking at the penguins (they’re my fav) and all their un-amused facial expressions – obviously not impressed at being upstaged by a giant ball of fluff!
There's plenty of scope to do silly voices and add a bit of dramatics whilst reading, which will make it even more fun. The big ‘twist’ at the end was absolutely expected, but there was just something missing in the ending for me. A little confusing for younger readers perhaps? Could just be me.
There will be some who will think that this story is a bit stupid, and that the repetition of the word 'mammoth' quickly becomes annoying, but I think very young readers will find the repetition helpful when reading together. The fact is, children do like repetition.
I like the last page which gives a few extra facts about the real creatures – I didn’t know that they never lived in the Antarctic. Well, there's no evidence anyway.
I recently read that a group of scientists are trying to bring back woolly mammoths with cloning/DNA technology. So you never know, if the boffins get it right, we might actually see mammoths again one day!