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Poor Monty by Anne Fine

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Poor Monty

Poor Monty by Anne Fine

Anne Fine is the illustrious author of this very short but rather sweet book about the doctor mum too busy and tired to spot her own child’s chicken pox. She has written many wonderful books for older children and adults, but this is the first I’ve seen for toddlers. The illustrations are pleasant and clear enough, and there is a nice juxtaposition to observe between mum’s tasks as a GP and Monty’s play mirroring her activities. The story is simple and my daughter easily identified with being only half-listened to by tired mum (oh dear…). When mum finally hears what Monty’s on about, she exclaims “Poor Monty! I’m a terrible doctor!” when, to my mind, she might as easily have berated herself for being a terrible mum. And there’s a terrible dad, too, who taps on his computer all day while Monty plays all by himself, feeling sicker and sicker and getting spottier and spottier. You needn’t be a GP to recognise chicken pox, frankly. However, we could also read the book as an inspirational tale of career mum instead of career dad, since after all, chicken pox is not a serious disease, and Monty does end up cosily in bed with both adoring and concerned parents tucking him in (my daughter loved this bit). Despite the possible subtexts, it really is a charming read.

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Poor Monty