I Want My Mummy

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I Want My Mummy By Mij Kelly, Illustrated by Mary McQuillan, book reviewA baby blue egg comes out to play: its two legs have emerged, but that is all. All the other creatures nearby, however, hear a shout from inside the egg calling, ‘I want my mother!’ First there’s a red pterodactyl in a ginko tree, who implores the egg not to make a noise that will wake up the ‘scary thing’. The egg runs off in fear with the red creature and hides under a yellow creature that is not unlike a stegosaurus. They realise that the scary thing is already awake, so they all run off again and hide under a huge green dinosaur. They hear frightening sounds of trees and rocks being thrown around by the scary creature, so the red creature, the green dinosaur, the yellow dinosaur and the blue egg all run away together. Oh dear: they run into something blue, and it’s the scary thing itself!

The scary blue dinosaur turns out to be very polite. She suddenly burst into tears and explains that she is crying because she has lost her egg, which of course is blue. The other dinosaurs ask her if the little blue egg belongs to her at the very moment that it hatches. Mother and baby are reunited, but the other dinosaurs decide that they had better run for their lives again, as now there are two scary blue things to hide from.

Mij Kelly’s charming story ‘I Want My Mummy‘ is told in verse with rhymes and a rhythm that keep the momentum going all the way through. It’s hard to go wrong with dinosaur characters as far as most children are concerned, and the use of a colour for each new creature works very well. Children love the way that the creatures team up to run away, and if they are dinosaur experts they may be able to guess that the yellow one is a stegosaurus and so on.

The text is printed in dark blue but is always superimposed on a light coloured background, so there is no difficulty in deciphering it. The font is large and clear throughout, with a few lines here and there printed in bold and larger than the average for emphasis. There are never more than eight lines together in a block, and sometimes there is just one line on its own on a page. The language is simple and straightforward on the whole, other than the odd use of words such as ‘exceedingly’ or ‘hullabaloo’. ‘I Want My Mummy’ is obviously intended as a story to be read aloud to very young children. The use of rhyme and basic vocabulary, however, should make it accessible to young independent readers who are likely to enjoy the dinosaur theme.

Mary McQuillan’s illustrations for ‘I Want My Mummy‘ are charming. They are colourful, bold and full of humour, so young children will not be frightened by the scary theme. The red pterodactyl wears glasses which tumble off when he crashes into the other dinosaurs. We see miniature dinosaurs playing noughts and crosses on a rock, and little insects with bulging eyes watching the creatures flee in trepidation. The blue dinosaur has a spotted handkerchief to dry her tears, and the yellow one is usually seen with a piece of plant hanging from his mouth as he runs. McQuillan has obviously put a lot of thought into little details that children can look for and that will help them to enjoy the story all the more.

I Want My Mummy‘ would be an excellent addition to the library of any family with very young children, particularly if they are fans of dinosaurs. It would make a perfect present too. There is excitement and humour in the story and the illustrations, and colours are cleverly focused on too. I read it recently to a small group of three- to four-year-old children, and it certainly held their attention. It is a delightful picture book to read aloud, but is also likely to appeal to children who have just learned to read themselves.

I Want My Mummy by Mij Kelly (author) and Mary McQuillan (illustrator)
Paperback, 32 pages
Hodder Children’s Books (2009)


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I Want My Mummy
by Mij Kelly

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Written by frangliz

I have a degree in Fine Art but never actually worked in that field. After almost two years in Paris, I moved to Cairo and spent many years there teaching English language and literature in schools. I came back to the UK in 1999 and now work with young children. I also tutor students of all ages in French, English or Maths. I enjoy writing reviews in my spare time; another hobby of mine is photography. I have two sons who are now grown up, both working in IT.

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