First published in 1991, My Aunt Mary Went Shopping, by Roger Hall follows Aunt Mary as she goes shopping, buying giraffes, goats, yaks etc., and various accessories matched by their ability to rhyme with the animal.
Although the story builds in a progressive style, I found it never really developed a nice metre, and I stumbled over the words when reading it aloud. Yet the story itself is humorous, and the illustrations just hilarious; particularly the pigs in wigs.
My Aunt Mary went shopping and she bought
A giraffe, a scarf for the giraffe,
A goat, a coat for the goat,
Some yaks, some slacks for the yaks,
A rat, a hat for the rat,
And some wigs for the pigs.
As a book to encourage discussion, My Aunt Mary Went Shopping is fantastic. From questions around whether Giraffe’s need scarves, or how funny rats in hats look, to what do pigs really want or even whether the animals are just a tad ungrateful.
The level of silliness in this book makes it an excellent choice for an independent reader, but a lack of metre in the rhyming makes it less than ideal as a nice bedtime story for tired readers. My Aunt Mary Went Shopping is also a lovely way to encourage toddlers’ language skills, getting them to yell out the keywords, with a text layout that emphasises the main words on each page making this very easy to do.
Aunt Mary is obviously one of life’s eccentrics but I have to agree with her, more pigs need wigs.
My Aunt Mary Went Shopping
By Roger Hall, illustrated by Daron Parton
Published by Scholastic NZ