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Shes always losing her things - and herselfThere is a peculiar satisfaction to be derived from the version of hide-and-seek where a parent pretends to have lost a child Wheres Ted There he is Into that moment of finding come a lot of other things a sense of belonging for the child and a playing out of the fear of being lostAllan Ahlberg who seems to understand everything there is to understand about children has seized on this finding between parent and child as the climax to Treasure Hunt Walker 999 an almost perfect picture bookThe illustrations are by Gillian Tyler a marvellous domestic miniaturist She revels in detail the tacks on an upholstered armchair a titchy soldier-shaped egg cup chocolate coins wrapped in gold Tilly the heroine searches always successfully for her secreted treasures a banana a cat a rabbit - before going missing herself Her story is animated by a tenderness that steers beautifully clear of sentimentality 2-5If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff illustrated by Felicia Bond Collins 799 is an ingenious book with a subtext about role reversal It lets a child know by craftily oblique means what it is like to be a parent Raymond Briggs was the master of this in his classic picture books The Man and The Bear Here a little boy is the keeper of a demanding mouse and learns that there is no end to his impulsive charges needs One thing leads to another in a comic but by no means vicious circle 2-5George Shrinks by William Joyce Collins 999 is also a story about a little boy pitched unexpectedly into adult responsibility His parents go out and - hey presto - he shrinks George an untidy American kid in saffron pyjamas is an eye-catching addition to the genre of shrinking children but he is not as self-possessed as Alice and you fear for him washing up when you have shrunk
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