Book Review: I Can’t Imagine How that Happened, by Aimee McNaughton, illustrated by Dominique Ford

Available now in bookstores nationwide. 

Aimee McNaughton grew up in Wellington, and her mother Iona McNaughton is a writer also. In 2009, she gained an cv_i_cant_imagine_how_that_happenedhonours degree in English Literature from Victoria University with a particular focus on Children’s and young adult fiction. Aimee won the Joy Cowley Award in 2013. This is the first picture book she has written. The illustrations by Dominique Ford are in pen and watercolour.

When I first received this book, I sat down to read it through. I couldn’t stop laughing – the humour is wonderful. Grandpa and Meg have a very special relationship. Grandpa decides to take Meg camping one weekend. They take with them a tent, which they put up together, with Meg being the expert at banging in pegs. Meg puts her hammer down, which Grandpa then proceeds to steal. “Grandpa” Meg said. “I can’t image how that happened” said Grandpa.

Grandpa continues to tease Meg throughout their camping adventure, from putting a tine of tuna on the end of Meg’s fishing line to hiding a plastic spider in Meg’s sleeping bag. Meg then turns the tables on Grandpa by getting her own back. Meg does a number of things with one being putting tomato sauce in his drink bottle. “I can’t image how that happened” Meg giggles.

On reading this book to my 3 year old granddaughter Abby, I had lots of “whys” throughout. Abby thought the ending was hilarious but wanted to know why the Poopeeko (her pronunciation of Pukeko) was making a mess. 

This is a fabulous book with wonderful illustrations. I had “can you read me the Grandpa book” at least 10 times from my granddaughter, which in my mind gives final approval from her age group, but is also suitable for older children who are able to read it to themselves.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

I Can’t Imagine How that Happened
by Aimee McNaughton, illustrated by Dominique Ford 
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775432043

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