Reviews /

I’m (Almost) Never Bored

Authored by Anna Milbourne
Illustrated by Åsa Gilland
Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd

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The front cover of I’m (Almost) Never Bored includes the subtitle A book with HOLES, which links its design to Anna Milbourne’s 2021 text I’m (Almost) Always Kind. However, in I’m (Almost) Never Bored, this subtitle not only describes the format, but also could be read at a more metaphorical level as the protagonist tells the reader how she uses her imagination to fill time.

Milbourne’s text of I’m (Almost) Never Bored is written in the first person, eschewing conventional narration. Rather, this is a young girl’s explanation of what she does when mum and dad are too busy working to play, and how the cry of ‘I’m bored’, is quickly replaced by adventures in a cardboard-box magic train, in a ‘land of wibbly-wobbly jellies’, and confronting a ‘tangly spaghetti monster’. In each adventure, the child’s imagination transforms the everyday (cardboard box, a scribble and the washing machine) into playful encounters with the marvellous.

I’m (Almost) Never Bored alternates bright and busy full-page images and double spreads with a storyboard approach, with events in sequence across the page. The holes mentioned in the subtitle make the book itself an object of play, and they provide portals through which the child can travel between worlds or (in one case) as a means of bringing the spaghetti monster to life.

Finally, the model of family that is represented needs to be highlighted. The home portrayed is of a middle-class family of colour in which we see the mother being the breadwinner and the father looking after the home – I look forward to not seeing such representation as being worthy of note. I would suggest that this book would find its place in a library or reading corner of a class for children from early years to nine years old.