Peepo!, by Janet & Allen Ahlberg, published by Puffin, price £6.99 (the book was a gift from a friend).
Peepo! is a book for little’uns that takes a peek into the everyday life of a regular baby. Fun peeping holes in this book slowly reveal his day – starting from waking up in the morning (which looks vastly different to mornings in our house – with our typical parental negotiation over who has had less sleep and who gets to watch Peppa from 4am…) to bedtime (also eerily calm). It harks back to the good old days when babies were pushed around in perambulators, mums wore aprons and dads fetched coal. And it’s extra lovely and cosy for that reason.
That babies can be good sleepers? Nah. I think the main message we get from Peepo! is about how similar our lives are to the baby’s life. Max hasn’t raised a tiny eyebrow about the baby being bathed in a tin bath or the mum’s hairnet. It’s about a baby ‘just like him’ even without the vintage styling (although I’m pretty jealous of the life-in granny helping with the washing!).
MY THOUGHTS (age 37):
This is a proper classic. Gorgeous proper old-fashioned illustrations of proper normal people doing real stuff. Well real stuff in the 1940s anyway…I had this book when I was a kid (not *quite*as long ago as in the 40s…even the book isn’t that old – it was actually first published in the early 80s) so it was a hopeful nostalgia read to begin with, as Max has had this book on his book shelf since day one. And it’s actually the first book I sat down and read to him (at like three months probably – obviously he was enthralled).
MAX’S THOUGHTS (age 2):
I’m pleased to say that this is a fave for Max too. He’s been into Peepo! big time for a while now. To begin with just shouting ‘Peepo!’ was popular. Then he seemed to take in the rhythm of the words. Slowly picking up the story as he began increase his vocab. Now he can finish off half of the rhymes for me. It’s been a great one to grow with him. It’s been both ripped and chewed on. Both of which are high praise indeed.
The detailed illustrations of Peepo! keep on giving. Each page has so many lovely images to be enjoyed. Cats to spot. Buses to point out. The baby’s teddy and ball following the story all the way through til bedtime.
Longevity. I think Peepo! will last and last through lots more stages (if it doesn’t get torn to pieces first). Loved by me and well as him, so a good parent pleaser.