Children's Literature in Southern Africa

Puku reviews children's book 'Surprise! Surprise!'

Book Cover: "Surprise! Surprise!" by Niki Daly, Tafelberg

Families in today’s world are unique and diverse, with each so different to the next.

This is what makes Niki Daly’s Surprise! Surprise! a wonderful choice for children in 2017.

Surprise! Surprise! is the very sweet story about Mr and Mrs Tati who want a child, but are unable to have their own. Instead, they take in a surrogate baby by adopting a piglet. They dress him, feed him and love him, eventually deciding to send their baby off to school. It is here that the Tati’s face new choices and decisions when the school refuses to accept a pig as a pupil.

"It had been a big mistake to turn a little pig into a little boy."

The Tati’s must find another way to keep their family together and readers will love that the story answer is that happiness lies at the heart of the family.

Bookworms who grew up with the "Three Little Pigs" and Richard Scarry’sBusytown’ books, will not find the characters in this tale unusual, but for some young readers, the fact that pigs are dressed up as children is...

Surprise! Surprise!...

most strange indeed.

Illustration: Richard Scarry's "Busytown" bus with passengers

This new baby has a curly tail and a snout!

As a parody on classic fairy tales, this tale is a reminder of the well-known titles and stories that have lasted through the ages, their timeless appeal still relevant today. Author and illustrator, Niki Daly holds onto that promise, highlighting the essence of family and questioning what truly defines it, commenting on how families no longer fit the moulds that originally shaped them. Instead, Daly challenges expectations, shuffles the outcomes and questions the results, indicating that family, often, is not quite what one expects...

A much-loved South African author and illustrator, Niki Daly’s stories are well known for their wonderful characters and enchanting images; pairing artistic creativity with open laughter. A gifted storyteller, Daly's books see children interacting with the pages, pointing, exclaiming and commenting.

Suitable for all young readers, this picture book is the perfect reading for quiet times at home as well as in busy classrooms, ensuring that youngsters return to read it again and again.

Young Reader’s Review

Book Covers: Niki Daly's "Surprise! Surprise!"

"At first the cover of Surprise! Surprise! makes you think that it’s the little pig who is going to be surprised, probably by someone he knows... but actually, it’s the readers of this book who will get the surprise!"

The story is about a family who can’t have a baby. Mr Tati knows that his wife is unhappy so he goes to the baby shop to buy her a baby, but they don’t sell babies there. On his way home he sees a baby pig and he brings the piglet home for Mrs Tati. Mrs Tati loves the baby and calls him Potter. But poor Mrs Tati still wishes she could have a baby – one that looks just like her and Mr Tati - it’s everything she wants. It’s when her wish comes TRUE that it’s really a funny story.

It was my favourite part when Mr Tati wished that as a family they would all look the same…

...but I really didn’t like it when little Potter wasn’t allowed to go to school because he was a pig and the headmistress was mean to him, and that’s not fair, because everyone is entitled to an education even if you are different!

I loved how cute this story is and I think it’s very unique, because I’ve never read a book before with a family trying to raise a baby pig who goes to school. The story was very sweet and very kind in how the family treats each other. I thought it was cute and adorable that Mr and Mrs Tati treated the pig like their own son.

Logo: Tafelberg

It’s also written in an easy way for beginner readers to practise their reading.

Surprise! Surprise! is about families and different families and about how love is the same. When Mr Tati wished on a falling star I was reminded of Pinocchio who wanted to be a real boy and Gepetto who also wanted a family, but had a son who was different.

I really liked Surprise! Surprise! and I know I would pick it up to look inside it if I was in a book store. I think boys and girls, of 7 or 8 years will even read this and I think it’s a good bedtime story for parents to read to their children.

Reviewed by Chris, 13 years.

Read more about the author here.

4/19/2017 11:24:04 AM
4/20/2017 8:14:06 AM

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