Cheeky Charlie is actually a quite cheeky book! It's not like most of the books we've read, it's more like a regular afternoon in our house. The author, Mat Waugh, is brilliant at description and scene-setting, so that even with no pictures at all, both my 5 and 6 year old boys are completely immersed into the story.
The main characters in the book are the 6 year old Harry, and their younger sibling, Cheeky Charlie, and part of why my boys like this book so much is because they identify so much with the characters. My 6 year old is generally quite sensible, and my 5 year old can be incredibly cheeky and mischevious. By the time (on page 2) it was pointed out that Harry was in fact a girl, my 6 (very nearly 7) year old had already decided it was probably written about him...
There are several instances where the author leads you into an open field and lets your imagination run wild before hitting you with a surprise. Cheeky Charlie is cleverly written, witty and funny and has had both of my boys wide-eyed and laughing out loud regularly.
The style of the book is quite colloquial and chatty, and it has a lovely conversational flow which makes it a delight to either read, or listen to. My 6 year old is a competent reader, and he had no problem reading aloud to myself and his younger brother - despite this being his first photo and illustration free book!
Cheeky Charlie is aimed at children aged around 6+, to be read together or independently, and I feel that's right. It is a little bit more grown up, and would not suit most pre-schoolers. As well as a lack of images and more tricky storyline, Cheeky Charlie references school, and things that children aged 5+ are familiar with, and stretches a child's vocabulary and understanding. I have mentioned this many times as being a quality I admire in any book, so I think it's great.
The layout is clean and crisp, and the text is not too small to be daunting, with the 102 page story broken up into 8 easily manageable chapters which each have their own adventure (or incident!).
Cheeky Charlie is Mat Waugh's first fiction book for children, and I hope he writes some more. It's currently available for the bargain price of £1.99 on Kindle or £5.49 in paperback (prime eligible). Well worth the money. Mat Waugh also (every now and then) blogs at Dadhacks.
We were sent it to review - and I'm very glad I said yes.