This is a seriously funny, subversive book. You can tell that by the wonderful front cover with the pugnacious looking small child standing in a corner. It happens to be George, aged two and a half, who has been using a naughty word. In fact he said it, sang it and shouted it fifty seven times in the savoury biscuits aisle and again by the chocolate biscuits, even though he has no idea what it means. We are introduced to the whole family and we get to the mother, shown in black and white with a ginger cat at her feet. “This is Maureen. Apart from the cat, Maureen sees everything in black and white. She NEVER goes into the naughty corner because none of it is her fault. It’s her job to send everyone else to the naughty corner because she thinks it will make them better people.”
You will either love this book or hate it. It has a limited target audience. It is completely unsuitable to read to other people’s children (so inappropriate in pre schools and junior classes). It is unlikely to appeal to young parents or indeed any parents who take their roles very seriously. But it should be a runaway success in families with older children, more relaxed parents or with fathers who lean to the subversive (and would build shelves in the naughty corner to hold stuff so they don’t get bored when made to spend time there). The basic premise is that life is a lot more fun if you are naughty.
The illustrations are beautifully stylised and characterised. Littlies will love this book because their older siblings and parents will find it hysterically funny as they read it aloud. Buy it for friends who are having an additional late child. It is quite the funniest picture book I have seen in a long time.
The Naughty Corner by Colin Thompson (Hachette; ISBN: 978 0 7336 1991 5) reviewed by Abbie Jury