A wonderfully inventive and original picture book story that’s told in near perfect rhyming text.
It’s six o’clock and we’re ready for tea, but look – what’s that? It’s a RUNAWAY PEA!
Pea is very small but he’s determined to have some fun. He pings himself off the plate, slips in a puddle of sauce and sets off on an adventure that leads him into the depths of the dog bowl, the hazards of the mousetrap and dangerously close to the orangey glow of the toaster. Just when he thinks he’s safe, he finds himself buffered, battered and bounced around the tumble dryer and left to rot in the dark, sticky hole beneath the fridge. Luckily a little bit of magic happens while he’s asleep and he’s delighted to discover where true fun can be found.
How many times have you watched a pea roll off you plate and disappear? I’m guessing more than once so you’ll easily identify with the idea behind this picture book. Indeed, I’m pretty confidence that children and adults alike will love this clever story of the adventures of a runaway pea.
The adventures are wonderfully inventive and I could almost hear Pea’s adventures as he goes SPLAT into the sauce, PLOP into the dog bowl, and SPLASH in the fish tank before bouncing off a cobweb with a loud TWANG. I also loved the near perfect rhyming text that feels entirely natural (a rare feat given most rhyming texts feel at least slightly forced!)
The twist at the end of the story is simply inspired. It may not actually be possible in reality (because frozen, tinned or even cooked peas cannot be planted or grown in the ground) but this is a picture book and anything and everything is possible.
The highly stylised pictures by illustrator, Alex Willmore, are colourful and appealing. Indeed, I was impressed by quite how much variety there is in the pictures given the subject matter. For example, the images of Pea have an enviable amount of character given he’s essentially a little green circle. My personal favourite, however, has to be the goldfish, Adele, and the dried-up banana and two mouldy grapes that Pea finds whimpering under the fridge.
Although probably aimed at the upper end of the picture book market, this book has so much to offer that I think it will be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages.
If you enjoyed this, why not try a picture book with an even better twist. I simply love Bonkers about Beetroot by Cath Jones and Chris Jevons.
Date: July 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK