What is it they often say about family, ‘Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.’ It’s easy for adults to pick and choose which relatives they see more or less of but for children it’s a little more problematic. Children find themselves in all sorts of family situations which are not of their own making and often around older relatives that really do just not get kids. I’m sure every child can think of a relative that they could really do without seeing and in Tansy’s case, it is her very unpleasant Aunt Emma.
Tansy dreads the visits of Aunt Emma. On her twice yearly visits, she always makes Tansy’s life miserable and to make matters worse Tansy gets kicked out of her bedroom and has to sleep on the blow-up mattress in mum’s office!
As per usual, within minutes of arriving Aunt Emma has made unkind remarks about Tansy’s appearance, made fun of her for playing baby games and has rudely remarked on the smell of pet dog Cleo. When Dad has to head out to fix a work problem and needs Mum to drive him, it leaves Tansy and Aunt Emma all alone. Dad has instructed Tansy to, “be nice to Aunt Emma,” but surely it won’t help, will it…
This funny short story from Anne Fine holds a delightful family drama within its forty eight pages. As Tansy goes out of her way to “be nice to Aunt Emma,” she finds something that drives her aunt crazy - good manners and being polite. Tansy revels in getting her own back on Aunt Emma and as she continues her charm offensive and her antics become ever more over the top so Aunt Emma becomes more and more irate and her reactions and frustrations become increasingly amusing.
Children getting the better of adults is always entertaining and the ‘battle’ between Aunt Emma and Tansy is bursting with mischief and overflowing with politeness and good manners - much to the dismay of Aunt Emma and the amusement of Tansy. Readers will delight in the action that plays out in witty remarks, playful banter, snarky comments and plenty of sarcasm.
Told over ten short chapters, it is a great read for supporting children in building up their reading stamina. Bringing life to the mischief making and annoying antics are illustrations by Gareth Conway. True to Barrington Stoke form, the book is produced using dyslexic friendly font and colours ensuring a read that is accessible to every reader.
Huge thanks to the peeps at Barrington Stoke for this delightful book.
Recommended for 7+.