I’ll Believe You When…: Unbelievable Idioms from Around the World

Cheerfully illustrated and thoughtfully diverse, this playful picturebook explores the concept of idioms through examples from around the world. Beginning in the UK, we begin with the phrase ‘when pigs fly’. The frequently absurd idioms are delightful. Hairy frogs, toothy chickens, dancing cows and whistling lobsters feature as we encounter examples from Spain, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Russian and more. The fun is enriched by a clear explanation at the end of what exactly an idiom is, and not one but TWO world maps depicting the countries mentioned and featuring the idioms in their original languages. The text is carefully laid out, demonstrating and then explaining concepts. The central idea about the nuances of communication – that there are many ways to say the same thing, and if we listen carefully we might hear the commonality underneath difference – is complex and timely, and very well executed.

The illustrations are simple, brightly coloured and take advantage of the absurd humour of the text. As the children and animals move from idiom to idiom the landscape stays the same, suggesting that the children aren’t visiting each other in different places, they are part of the same community. Although our beloved Gaeilge is not featured, Schubert has thoughtfully addressed these gaps in her discussion on idioms: What idioms do you know? Can you make up some of your own? Wonderful stuff altogether. Suitable for 5-8 years old.