Tuesday, 21 February 2012


A small but perfectly formed cautionary tale from William Bee today in the form of 'Whatever'.

This is a book we've had since Bill was a baby. I confess I bought it for the trivial reason that the 'hero' is a bald boy called Billy who is a mini-me of his bald Dad. At the time, Baby Bill was a hairless infant and his Dad has been similarly challenged since his early 20s. (I tell Bill now to enjoy his hair whilst he can...he'll have it for about 15 more years by my calculations)(luckily they both have lovely shaped heads ;)) Both Billy and his Dad are also extremely well dressed in matching suits which tickled me too; the husband has something of a Tailor-made suit habit.

Be warned; this is a deeply sarcastic, moody read with a dark ending. Whilst superficially for the under 5's I suppose, it has a proper sulky adolescent air about it. We all love it- being ourselves a sarky bunch- but you may disapprove. It's funny!

Billy is a grumpy un-impressible small boy. His father tries hard to show him the wonders of the world in ever- increasing escalation; the world's curliest trumpet, the world's bounciest castle, the world's steamiest train...Billy's response is always the same; 'Whatever'.

Finally Billy's dad shows him the world's hungriest tiger.

He probably should have been more impressed that time.

The book is extremely well designed- in itself as stylish as Billy and his Dad. Every aspect of it is perfectly balanced. William Bee's website is one of my favourites and will give you the measure of both his wit and control. I suspect he may not like children in the abstract very much at all.

But nobody gets to say 'whatever' in this house without a raised eyebrow and a giggle.

'Whatever' by William Bee, pub. Walker isbn 1-4063-0133-7

like it or don't- whatever.

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