Cantankerous King Colin (Phil Allcock & Steve Stone)


My first review and the Bairn’s flavour of the last fortnight is Cantankerous King Colin by Phil Allcock and illustrated by Steve Stone.  Published by Maverick Arts Publishing in 2014, we first happened upon this book via the CBeebies Bedtime Hour when we were sat with a very young Bairn (only a couple of months old) as the actor Tom Hollander did a very fine reading of it.  Both husband and I were very taken with the story and noticed how special it was from the off.  Bairn was only two months old, so viewed it with the same wonderous gaze he had just given the Night Garden Pontipines just before it.

A few days later husband bought it online and it became a firm favourite to read for the next few weeks.

It then went into the bottom of the book box only to be recently discovered again by a two and a half year old bairn!  Oh my does he love King Colin!  I have read it every night for a couple of weeks now.  What’s not to love?  In my humble opinion it is picture book royalty, befitting of its grumpy yet royal protagonist.

The story starts off nicely with King Colin waking up in a foul mood. He goes about his day getting into more scrapes than a toddlers right knee, but it’s all fine, because he is the King!  The repetition of the main theme is squealed with delight each time by the Bairn as King Colin gets more Silly, Dirty, Smelly, Grumpy, Crazy, Lazy and Naughty!  There are lots of words in there also befitting of a toddler!

“And he did, because he could, because he was king” Phil Allcock

The twist at the end is fabulous and I won’t give any spoilers here!

This book is packed with comedy and gross stinky humour which the Bairn loves at his age and stage.  He loves the sounds which come from the words and pictures, and makes all the right “Ugh” noises at the smelly food King Colin eats, which are “Slurpy and burpy”!

Steve Stone’s illustrations are brilliant and the book plays in front of the reader like a moving cartoon.  They work to great effect with Allcock’s story so much so that I am convinced I can smell the “jug of cold gravy”.

In conclusion this house loves Cantankerous King Colin and I am confident in predicting it will remain a firm favourite for a long time to come.

Mummy Rating – *****

Bairn Rating  – 😀


The birth of a blog


‘This is your very first post’.


This is what my WordPress editor tells me anyway.  It then tells me I can delete the temporary text that is there and replace with my own – wahey!  So here is my own.

So I decided today to start a blog all about picture books.  I love them, my wee boy loves them and we have read a lot of them with no sign of stopping until he gets on to chapter books in a few years. Books are everything and I love that we can share so many together in amongst the hectic days and busy bedtime routines.

I wanted to collect them all in one place as I have a love of children’s literature and had thought many a time to write and publish my own one day.  Alas after several years rewriting a failed and out of date manuscript I decided instead to appreciate the art from other authors and illustrators.

Oh yes and we live in Scotland so we love to infuse our library with some Scottish tales of this misty land.

I hope you enjoy the reviews and it gives you some hints with what to stock up your little bairn’s bookshelf with.