Off To The fair - Christopher Wormell

Community images

Off To The fair - Christopher Wormell

Mrs. Elephant, Mrs. Walrus and Mr. Bear are off to town again, this time, to go to the fair. But they keep seeing other attractions that take their fa...

> Show product information

93% positive

3 reviews from the community

Review of "Off To The fair - Christopher Wormell"

published 01/12/2003 | Fruity_Tart
Member since : 30/11/-0001
Reviews : 216
Members who trust : 0
About me :
Pro Brilliant for the kids, has helped Alices reading, gorgeous illustrations
Cons I think the higher age range should be lowered
very helpful
Would you read it again?
How does it compare to similar books?

"A gorgeous book from cover to cover"

I asked Ciao to add this category ages ago and then promptly forgot all about it until Alice came down this morning and asked me to read her a story. I told her to go and choose a book and this is the one she came down with.

Christopher Wormell is primarily an illustrator who, in the last few years, has branched out into writing his own childrens books to compliment his wonderful artistic talent. He has illustrated many adults book including English Country Traditions and Bordeaux: A Comprehensive Guide, these are probably not well known (they weren't to me either) but looking at various illustrations he's done for these books, his work is superb. Wormell really comes into his own though when he's illustration childrens books. He allows his imagination to run riot and produces the most gorgeous pastel drawings to fit pre-school books by other authors. 'Off To The Fair' is the first book I've actually read which was both written and illustrated by Christopher Wormell, although he is also responsible for the Little Stone Rabbit series and George and the Dragon.

When I first got 'Off To The Fair' the first thing that struck me was the wonderfully detailed illustration on the front cover showing the main characters in the book - Mr Bear, Mrs Elephant and Mrs Walrus. Flicking through the pages before I gave it to Alice revealed a huge picture on every page showing the antics the animals get up to. The story is fittingly short and sweet to keep the interest of young children, the animals decide they want to go to the fair but when they set off each page of the book shows a different distraction to prevent them getting to the fair before it closes for the day. First of all the lure of the shops calls them and they spend ages trying on hats and simsuits, then they stop for ice cream, they go to the cinema ("Oh look," cried Mrs Elephant. "There's a film about a small elephant with very large ears!" Wonder what film Wormell is referring to?), stop off at the baths for a swim and finally go to a concert. All the time Mr Bear is worrying and complaining that they're going to miss the fair and by the time they get there the fair has closed so they decide to sleep outside until it opens in the morning.

The story is cute, written in an old fashioned kind of way full of phrases like 'by the by they arrived' and 'so off they went' but this is what a childrens book is all about. I don't like the new trend of childrens writers where they think they can take a story and mould it to fit any age just by changing a few words about here and there but you can tell this is a book that has been written especially for the most important children, those who are learning to read. A whole generation of new readers are picking up books for the first time and I believe the onus is on childrens authors to make books so interesting that children will want to devour books as their reading ability improves. This book fits nicely, the story is interesting and the fact that the book primarily features three animals will make it a hit with most kids.

And the animals are fab! Wormell has drawn them larger than life so they tower above the humans which are in the background. The pictures (drawn in pastels) are gorgeous. They're beautifully drawn, detailed and funny. When the animals go for a swim they jump in and the next page is covered with a picture of the water jumping out and the animals sitting at the bottom of a completely empty pool just in front of a 'no jumping' sign - this picture has Alice giggling like a mad thing every time she sees it! The illustrations are so lovely that my friend has photocopied the front cover onto photographic paper and framed it for her daughters bedroom.

The recommended age range for 'Off To The Fair' is 5 - 8, but personally I think it's more suitable for ages 4 - 6 because the story just isn't exciting enough to hold the interest of children towards the older end of the range. Alice is 4 and she loves looking at the pictures in the book while I read her the story and because a lot of the words in the book are short she can pipe up when I get to words she's learned already. Thanks to this book she can now recognise the words 'fair' and 'elephant' although she insists on saying womble for walrus! She enjoys hearing the story while pointing out what's happening in the pictures. Charlotte has not long turned seven and has a reading ability of older so she read the book herself. She liked the story but now she's read it once she doesn't find it as enchanting as Alice does so will only read it again when Alice pesters her to read it to her. She also loved the pictures and has spent hours copying some of the illustrations to put on her bedroom wall. I don't think this book would really hold the attention of an eight year old because by then most children are reading fluently enough to not have to rely on a book like this which is mainly pictures with a small amount of text.

You can get a softback copy of 'Off To The Fair' from Amazon for £4.79 and if you've got small children I'd recommend it as an ideal Christmas present. Check out more Christoper Wormell titles at

Thanks for reading.

Community evaluation

This review was read 674 times and was rated at
100% :
> How to understand evaluation of this review
very helpful

Comments on this review

  • Jackietob published 08/12/2003
    My daughter is 3 1/2 and whenever anyone asks what she wants Father Christmas to bring her for Christmas, she says books. She adores them so I'll definitely hunt this one out. Thanks Jackie
  • rosillew published 05/12/2003
    Great review, I think this is deffinately one for my youngest Grandson well done,Heatherx
  • WormThatTurned published 04/12/2003
    Seems you have had an out of order rating. Sounds great for kids and your enthusiasm was good to see :)
  • Did you find this review interesting? Do you have any questions? Sign into your Ciao account to leave the author a comment. Log in

Most popular similar products

Product Information : Off To The fair - Christopher Wormell

Manufacturer's product description

Mrs. Elephant, Mrs. Walrus and Mr. Bear are off to town again, this time, to go to the fair. But they keep seeing other attractions that take their fancy - shops, a cafe, the park, the cinema. When they finally arrive, the fair is closed for the night and everyone has gone home. Bitterly disappointed (especially Mr. Bear), the animals decide to sleep outside the fair, until they are let in by the man who unlocks the gates in the morning. From the Back CoverMrs Elephant, Mr Bear and Mrs Walrus are off to the fair. But when they get to town they keep getting distracted by shops, a caf', the cinema and even the swimming pool. Will they ever make it to the fair?

Product Details

Type: Fiction

Genre: Children's

Title: Off To The fair, easy learn learning first numbers

Author: Christopher Wormell

ISBN: 0099447991

EAN: 9780099447993


Listed on Ciao since: 01/12/2003