Age Range: 5 to 8
Laughter is the best medicine and Claude and his faithful sidekick Sir Bobblysocks have definitely made my daughter laugh while she has been ill this week. We’ve read Claude in the City and Claude in the Country several times, our favourite part is when Claude has to take Sir Bobblysocks to hospital.
The Story: Claude and Sir Bobblysocks spend a day in the city. They go shopping, have lunch and visit an art gallery where Claude unwittingly foils a robbery, is hailed as a hero and awarded a medal. Unfortunately the day takes its toll on Sir Bobblysocks who wakes up ill next morning. Claude takes him to hospital and while he is waiting for Sir Bobblysocks to be treated Claude is mistaken for a doctor. Fortunately Claude manages to diagnose the mystery illness that is affecting several patients while Dr Achinbum’s best surgeon operates on Sir Bobblysocks. Claude and Sir Bobblysocks are then carried home by the grateful patients.
Claude is a small, beret wearing dog who shares his adventures with his best friend, a slightly neurotic, stripy sock, Sir Bobblysocks. In Part One Alex T. Smith introduces very original shops to Claude’s shopping experience (including a loo shop which my daughter finds particularly funny) but it is in the beret shop that Claude has the most fun. He buys so many new berets that it is his pile of boxes which foils the robber’s attempt to steal the sculpture from the art gallery (although we don’t think that her high heeled shoes are the best footwear for a robber!).
In part two my daughter loves Claude’s attempts to take people’s temperatures with a banana and laughs at his interpretation of an ambulance (roller skates and a torch!). She pores over the picture of the queue of people in the hospital waiting room and especially likes the cat who has the same spots as his owner. I find it funny that the nurse mistakes a small dog trying on a white coat for a doctor but my daughter doesn’t question it and is highly amused by the ‘-itis’ that Claude eventually diagnoses.
There is so much laugh aloud humour in both the text and the pictures in this easy to read story. Sentences are short so it is a great book for a beginner reader. It perfectly bridges the gap between a picture book and an early chapter book as the bright, bold illustrations support the text. The illustrations are drawn using shades of reds, pinks and black and each layout is different, there are so many details to look at. Claude is the only animal in the story (apart from the spotty cat) but he and Sir Bobblysocks are joined by wonderfully drawn human characters including lady wrestlers, the tall nurse and our favourite, Dr Ivan Achinbum.
I had no idea that Claude has been translated into German. He’s called Luis and I love Sir Bobblysock’s name – Herr Fusselsocke! You can also read Claude in French and Spanish.
Author / Illustrator: Alex T. Smith
Claude in the Country also makes us laugh. Claude and Sir Bobblysocks spend a day at the farm helping Mrs Cowpat, the farmer, get ready for the County Fair. During the course of the day Claude, in his own inimitable style, collects chickens’ eggs, tries horse riding, fills in for Mrs Cowpat’s sheepdog who is on holiday, prepares the pigs for The Most Beautiful Pigs competition and lassos a raging bull.
We’re looking forward to reading our next Claude adventure. Which book would you recommend we read next?