The Vole Brothers are enjoying a leisurely stroll, when…SPLAT! A pigeon leaves a very unpleasant surprise on one of their heads. I wasn’t yet familiar with Roslyn Schwartz’s illustrious Vole Brothers, but I have found a new favourite! This is the sort of book that will appeal as much to a 3 year old as it would to an 8 year old, and is a wonderful story for reading with a child one-on-one or a group of kids in storytime.
This is one of the funniest picture books I’ve read in a while; Schwartz’s lighthearted humour will definitely appeal to kids! Using sounds and images, SPLAT! Starring the Vole Brothers just continues to escalate in hilarity. The story begins with the harmless “Flap Flap Flap” of a pigeon, but as the bird approaches the vole brothers on their walk, the flapping begins to seem ominous. The brothers look up at the bird with an admiring “Ooooooooooo” which soon turns to “Err…” when they see that disaster (and bird poop) is about to strike. Unfortunately, the clean brother is not very sympathetic (laughing “Tee hee hee”), but he learns his lesson soon enough when he gets the bird poop thrown back his way. Things continue in this fashion, and even the pigeon feels the consequences of his actions! One of the things that I love about this book is the opportunity to laugh together and to discuss and predict what’s going to happen next.
SPLAT! Starring the Vole Brothers is the perfect read-aloud because of how well the sounds and pictures tell the story: Schwartz uses classic cartoon qualities (imagine that each page is a panel) which make it really fun to read sounds like “Tee hee hee” in a silly, animated voice. The books works wonderfully as a means to help early readers and pre-readers recognize easy narrative structure and the spelling of simple sounds. Did I mention that it’s really funny, too? The Vole Brothers definitely brought out my inner kid.
I laughed my way through this expressive, slapstick picture book to the hilarious and clever conclusion. This book is a winner!