All in One Piece

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All in One Piece By Jill Murphy, book review

‘All in One Piece’ by Jill Murphy is a really fun read for little children and parents alike. Jill Murphy is quite a prolific children’s writer and is well known for her ‘Worst Witch’ series of books. She has also written a number of books about a family of elephants, called the Large family, and this book is part of that series. This particular one was written in 1987 and has certainly stood the test of time!

Although they are elephants, the Large family take on all the characteristics and traits of any normal family. There are six members of the family – Mum, Dad, Luke, Laura, Lester and the baby. In this story Mum is desperately looking forward to a well earned night out with her husband – I know the feeling! – they certainly don’t come round often enough when you have small children! Granny has arrived early to babysit so that Mum can get ready in peace! The children have already been bathed and are ready for bed – all Granny needs to do is entertain them!

But of course, things don’t run as smoothly as Mum would like! Within minutes the young elephants are upstairs trying to help Dad shave, putting on Mum’s make up and trying on the clothes she has put out ready to wear! Mrs Large shouts at the children to go down stairs and wonders whether it is possible to have just one night to herself in the year when she is not covered in mucky fingerprints and can walk out the door ‘all in one piece’! I’m really with her at this stage when I am reading this with my daughters and know just how she feels! When I tell my daughters this though they just laughs!

“Jill Murphy is very good at making a story out of everyday happenings and this is definitely the case in this book.”

Eventually Mum and Dad are ready for the dinner dance and parade downstairs in their finery! Everyone says Mum looks lovely but sensibly she doesn’t let them anywhere near her! Mum and Dad leave and she says to her husband how glad she is to still be all in one piece! Dad says that it wouldn’t matter to him even if she were covered in paint…..which is a good thing as the final picture in the book shows the rear view of them walking away and … you’ve guessed it – Mum is covered in paint!! I fully sympathise at this point, having lost count of the number of times I have discovered mucky paw marks on my clothes when I am out!

I think that this book works well in many ways. Jill Murphy is very good at making a story out of everyday happenings and this is definitely the case in this book. She also picks up on little things that it is easy to relate to. I wouldn’t imagine that there is a mum of young children out there that hasn’t experienced something similar! It helps you laugh at these things too!

All the Large family are delightful and they are all illustrated very well. The expressions on the young elephants’ faces are great especially when they are being told off! I assume that it is Jill Murphy who illustrates as well as writes the story, as no one else is acknowledged.

It’s also a good book to share with young children because you can discuss the antics of the young elephants and talk about why Mum and Dad get annoyed with them. This helps to discuss their own behaviour as well and maybe how sometimes mummies do need to be given their own space!

All in One Piece is a great book for young children and one that I am sure that parents will enjoy reading too.

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All in One Piece
by Jill Murphy

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Written by kingfisher
kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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