If you are going to receive lessons on grammar, it should always be from a knowledgeable vegetable. Donkey hasn’t quite mastered his pronunciation and when an educated yam overhears him say ‘I yam a donkey!’, a heated and hysterical discussion begins on the verb ‘to be.’ Donkey takes a very literal approach to everything Yam says, and it isn’t long before Yam is flummoxed by a daft, but somehow savvy, Donkey. The conversation develops into a full-blown lesson, with other vegetables assisting Yam in his mission to educate the hapless donkey.
Cece Bell’s artwork for her story is bright and heavy-lined. The donkey is bold and dramatically illustrated, whilst Yam’s look of a curmudgeonly professor is highly entertaining. The text is clear and the conversation is simply displayed in speech bubbles. Although this book is a delight to read to younger children, new readers will be able for the simple language. The funny misunderstandings that occur between the pair contain humour that can be appreciated by both young and old.
The story itself has parallels with Donkey; unpretentiously clever in the subtlest of ways, it will make young readers aware of what they say, and how they use their words. This story does have a very unorthodox moral which lends itself to the most satisfying of endings, which I daren’t give away. Bell’s story is a must have – funny, witty and must be read with the silliest of voices.