Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

November 27, 2009

Jim: A Cautionary Tale

Q: What do you get if you cross a young boy, a lion, a classic story-teller and an award-winning illustrator?
A: A most excellent book.

We love a good read here at HCM Towers, so when I was asked by some nice people at Random House if I would like to review 'Jim' by Hilaire Belloc and Mini Grey, I stretched my hand up very, very high into the air and trilled, "Me, me, yes please".

The tale of Jim, the boy who ran away from his nurse and was eaten by a lion, was first written in 1907. Hilaire Belloc's classic cautionary tale has been updated in a special new edition, illustrated by award-winner Mini Grey*, whose completely brilliant pictures depict Jim's tale with amazing detail. The fold out map of the zoo is like a mini book of it's own, there's so much in it!

When the book arrived, I had a quick flick through and, although I thought it was brilliant and very funny, I wasn't sure whether a 'lion eating boy' story was suitable bed-time material for my four-year-old! Anyway, we read it after lunch one day and he absolutely loved it. The front cover of the book states 'Warning: Comes with a dangerous beast and a miserable end' - it does not lie!

The book is aimed at 7-9yr olds, but I have to say that my four-year-old thinks it is hilarious -and hasn't yet had any irrational reactions to lions after reading it several times! My two-year-old also loves the picture of 'chocolate, with pink inside' and the part where the pop-up lion jumps out and starts nibbling on Jim's ankles. Yes - it doesn't leave much to the imagination!

The interactive pull out maps and flaps all help to make this a really enjoyable read and a real treat of a book. My only slight question being whether 7-9yr olds would feel the flaps and pop-ups are a little baby-ish? Not sure on that one.

Anyway, 'Jim' gets a very big thumbs up from us. Keep an eye out for this book - it would make a lovely gift and a great addition to your bookshelves.

*(apparently so-called because she was born in a Mini - lucky for her she wasn't born in a Punto or a Passat then)

This post is a 'Hot Cross Mum Loves...' book review.



  1. Sounds interesting. I wonder why I had never heard of it before? I'll certainly look out for it. If your 4 year old enjoyed it then I'm sure it would be suitable for a 6 year old although maybe not at bedtime for a first reading.

  2. Hilaire Belloc... that's brought me right back to the first poetry book I ever owned (I was probably about 7) and the poem Matilda - "who told such dreadful lies, it made one gasp and stretch one's eyes" I loved that poem and she got burned down in her house in the end! Kids love drama and horror!!

  3. I love the look and sound of this book. It's definitely too old for my boys but I'd get it for the future.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin