Actually the illustrations by David Roberts are lovely, and perfectly accompany the text written by Alan MacDonald. Full of emotion, you can really see how the characters feel.
This book contains 3 stories - Rats!, Runner! and Dog Food!
Rats! is 30 pages long and itself split into bitesized chapters. It is a great story which starts when Mum finds the cereal box has been nibbled and there are mouse droppings in the cupboard. Bertie doesn't want to kill the mouse, so he devises a safe trap to try and catch it before his parents do....it's very funny and very sweet, and as a parent I can read it with a wry smile thinking of the daft plans all my children have had over the years, while my 4 and 5 year old boys empathise with Bertie and see it from his point of view.
And so it turns out that you absolutely do not need colour illustrations in a book. We all loved it. The language is nice and simple, with a really good selection of interesting words and concepts thrown in. It challenges the younger reader, but then it immediately gives clues so that they don't feel defeated. A great example of this is that my 4 and 5year olds didn't know what 'droppings' were, but on the very next page they're referred to as 'tiny poos'- explained. I noticed several insances like this in this book, and I really liked it because my boys had to think for themselves, but if my 5 year old had been attempting to read the book alone, he wouldn't have become frustrated.
This is Dirty Bertie's 23rd book, he's celebrating his 10th birthday this year, and we think he's great. I'm stunned I haven't come across him before, but I will certainly be looking out for him again. The stories are funny and interesting, and Bertie is very likeable all round.
Dirty Bertie: Rats! is published by the Little Tiger Press and is available at all good book shops. It has 96 pages and has a recommended retail price of £4.99. I think it's a lovely book, especially for early readers aged 4+ to read alongside a confident reader, or for confident readers to read alone from around 5-6 to 9.
We were sent Dirty Bertie: Rats! to review.