Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam

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Author: Tracey Corderoy
Illustrator: Steven Lenton
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Purchased: A UK Store Somewhere…

Why: A colleague was coming in from London and I asked her to pick up a few books that either weren’t available in the US or were only available in hardback. Living in NYC is tough enough, space-wise. When possible I like to get paperback picture books simply because they take up less space and are easier to bring along. I liked the description of this book online so I had her add it to the list.

Pros: Great rhyming – and it’s easy to read rhyme. I occasionally find that even when stories are well rhymed they are difficult to read out loud. Not this one. The main characters – a pair of n’er do well robber dogs – hatch a plan to rob their neighbors (or, neighbours – as I have the British version) – but when they’re caught in the act they discover an alternate career that’s even better. The illustrations are fun, and make good use of contrasting light and dark since some of the scenes take place at night.

Funny story: When a story is originally published in the UK, I much prefer getting that version over the American version. For starters, the text is original – no changing words due to different meanings across the English language. I like that because it broadens one’s knowledge about vocabulary. And the Queen’s English also uses words that we just don’t use all that often over here – like “queue” for line. If my son grows up knowing what that means because of this book, well, he’ll be a step ahead of where I was when I went to study abroad in London at 23!

We probably wouldn't use "swag bag" in this context so it's fun that it's used this way here.

We probably wouldn’t use “swag bag” in this context so it’s fun that it’s used this way here.

Also – Of all of our picture books, this is my husband’s absolute favorite. And our sitter’s. So two of the three adults reading picture books in our household chose this one as their favorite. That’s pretty impressive. (And, while it’s not my favorite – Nugget and Fang has that distinction – this is right up there as one of the best.) Strongly recommend you get yourself a copy of this one!

Durability: 4 bite marks. For a paperback this is holding up really well. I’d give it 5 but I’m not sure if I could give any paperback 5 bite marks!


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