As the title of the book hints, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill book on farm animals, even though its basic content — characteristics of the different farm animals and the sounds they make, all written in rhyme — echos that of one.
Well, don’t be fooled.
Instead of regular pages, every page of Flip Flap Farm has been split into two horizontally; and because the book has been so well thought-out and executed, both the text as well as the animal illustration on each spread have been laid out and drawn such that they are neatly divided into two.
Sequels are usually a hit-or-miss, and it’s especially tough when the follow-up effort has a lot to live up to — say, a gazillion-copies-sold bestseller such as The Gruffalo, for instance. But, given its pedigree, it would be remiss of me not to give The Gruffalo’s Child a read — and boy am I glad I did, because it may be one of those rare entities: a sequel that’s even better than its acclaimed antecedent.
Thanks to clever marketing and merchandising, some books become more famous than their content warrants; a few even become famous for being famous — for example, all the Dr Seuss books that people seem to know by name, even though they may not have read them or even a clue as to what they are all about.
The Gruffalo falls into this rare and happy — for the authors and publishers, of course — latter category, thanks to its catchy title and the distinctive eponymous character. Fortunately, however, unlike certain bestsellers whose popularity is fuelled by undeservingly being on the bestsellers list in the first place — it’s a vicious cycle — The Gruffalo fully deserves the acclaim and hype that it has garnered in the 14 years since it was first published.