Reviews /

Under the Table

Authored by Allan Ahlberg
Illustrated by Bruce Ingman
Published by Walker Books Ltd

From the world of The Pencil and The Runaway Dinner, Under the Table by Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman shares the same quirky humour and appeal to young readers.

Elsie Cannon is a little girl who finds not only an egg in her egg cup but a large grey thing under the table. The reader can guess what it might be before a turn of the page reveals an elephant. Elsie and her family are not perturbed and set the elephant to work washing their car. The story follows the same pattern as a whole menagerie of creatures reveals themselves in different places in the house.

What would any family do when a kangaroo, two penguins and an elephant come to visit? Of course, you’d invite them on holiday! And that is exactly what the Cannon family does. They load up their caravan (including the kitchen table) and set off to enjoy a wonderful holiday. The final day of the holiday has even more visitors in store when Elsie finds some ‘microscopical thingamebobs’ under the table (ants to you and I) and they join the party. There is one last visitor on the final page which means the story could go on some more.

Under the Table is a perfect book to read aloud with young children. The text bounds along in Ahlberg’s trademark unfussy, gentle style which makes it roll off the tongue with ease. There are opportunities for young readers to join in with the larger print text once they are familiar with the story. Opportunities for book chat abound. Young readers can make predictions based on Elsie’s descriptions of the animals and the family’s reactions to the animals makes an interesting discussion point. Bruce Ingman’s illustrations are full of fun detail and each page offers something new to spot. It is a book to be shared and revisited on many occasions. I can see this becoming a firm favourite in any early years setting.