Friday, February 21, 2014

The fearsome five by Wolf Erlbruch

This book, The Fearsome Five has been in our school library for a couple of years and the cover has always intrigued me.  Today I bought it home to read.  I was wondering if this book was suitable for our youngest students because the animals on the cover look a little fierce.

It is true they are fierce but this book is suitable for all ages and I have made some excellent discoveries.  Firstly this is a book in translation. This book is from Germany and was first published in 1991. I always seem to enjoy European children's books that are translated into English.  Well done Gecko Press for sharing this book with us. Secondly this is quite simply a charming and heart warming story about friendship, pancakes and good music.

Toad, Rat, Bat, Spider and Hyena know "it's generally agreed that we're revolting."  Other words used in the text include horrible, sickly, awful and hideous. It is Hyena who has the answer.  "It doesn't matter a jot if others think you're ugly... It's what you do that matters.  I advise you to do something - anything."  He then picks up his saxophone and everyone is entranced by the tune. Inspired, Rat pulls out his ukulele and joins in, spider sings with her delicate voice and Bat adds a soulful whistle.  But what about Toad - he has no musical ability.  That is no problem - Toad can make pancakes.

The five new friends now set up a musical pancake palace but as midnight passes not a single customer turns up.  Hyena begins to play and the others join in.  "The five of them made such a happy racket, it could be heard in the farthest corner of the neighbourhood."  I won't spoil the ending but it is certain to make you smile.  The sentiment of this book reminded me of the wonderful Frog books by Max Velthuis.

You might also enjoy another book illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch in our school library - The Little Mole who knew it was none of his business.

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