|''Never Ever' by Jo Empson|
|Piggy Cup Cakes|
The story is about a girl who thinks nothing exciting EVER happens to her. Whilst she struts along her path with her nose in the air and eyes firmly closed, she misses all that happens around her. Her journey starts alongside an orchard full of grazing pigs, where her constant companion (a soft toy rabbit) spots a flying pig...which of course she misses! Followed by the flying pig, their journey continues over heather-covered hills, yellow fields of dandelions, stepping stones crossing a river and long, lush grasses.
Hidden within the changing landscapes, unbelievable and fantastic characters reveal themselves to join the procession behind our oblivious little character. As the story progresses, there are more surprises in store for her (which I won’t spoil by revealing). Fortunately she comes to no harm, and the book ends with her tucked up safely in bed (or is she?) snuggled up beside her ‘ever-knowing’ guardian - that is, her soft toy rabbit! The text is a play on the words ‘never’ and ‘ever’, which work alongside the illustrations as a décalage adding humour and surprise. I think the text will be fun to read, gathering pace and encouraging children to be expressive when reading aloud.
Interestingly, a lot of adults who have seen a preview of ‘Never Ever’ seem to recognise themselves within the girl character. This doesn’t surprise me as the idea for the book came as a memory of being a child who loved exciting stories, I was forever disappointed that real life in a small town in Hampshire didn't quite match my imaginary expectations of what might be around the next corner...apart from chalk-pits!