Book Review: Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book

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Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, is a book about books. Charlie’s favorite book is about a person whose also reading a book, and that person’s book is about someone else reading, and so on and so on until it comes round full stop with people reading a book about Charlie. The illustrations of the book are great and it is fun to look at places where characters or details from one of the books appears in the other books. Can you find traces of all the later stories in the first page picture?

Charlie Cook's Favorite Book inspired us to create this picture of a book of my son reading a book about someone reading a book about him!

The book offers several discussion topics. With my four year old we could discuss different genres of books. How are magazines, encyclopedias and story books different? With my seven year old we could discuss the difference between books and dreams and the idea that it is easier to imagine that we are part of someone’s dream than part of someone’s book. What is the character of the book’s experience of life?

The book reminds me of two of Dennis Lee’s poems, one called “The King of Calabologie” which tells of a king coughing up animals which cough up other animals until eventually one of the animals coughs up the king of Calabologie. The second poem is called “Pollywogs in Parachutes” and deals with the question of who is dreaming who. It also reminded me of the Recursive Stories post I wrote a few weeks ago.

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  • adrianablake

    Thank you for the ideas of relating the book to different age levels!

    It is so smart to teach your kids from books, regardless of whether the books intend to teach those topics. I read that kids whose parents help them make connections in their reading are the most successful.

  • Renee C.

    I love the concept of this book. It’s a real mind-bender! Thanks for sharing the link at the Kid Lit Blog Hop Christy. Hope you’ll join us again. Cheers! 😀


    What a cool concept! And I love that you shared how you used it to have discussions at different levels with your kids. So important to go beyond just reading together to really discussing. Thanks for sharing at the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

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