Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Alfie and the Big Boys

Alfie and the Big Boys

Shirley Hughes
Picture Book  Series
For ages 4 to 6
Random House UK, 2009   ISBN: 978-0099488446

Every week day Alfie goes to Nursery School, and he enjoys his time there painting, learning how to write his name, playing shop, listening to stories, singing, and making crafts. During play time outside, Alfie likes to watch the boys in the Big School playing their big boy games on the other side of the fence. Sometimes the big boys pull their sweaters over their heads and they hang on to each other “pretending to be a fierce dragon.” The boy in the front of the dragon chain is always Ian Barger, a big boy with red hair. Alfie and his friend Bernard wish they could play fierce dragon too, but the big boys ignore them.

One day, Alfie’s mum decides to go to a plant sale, and she takes Alfie and his little sister Annie Rose with her. Alfie is soon bored at the plant sale so his mum decides to let him play in the little playground that is near by. There are adult helpers there to make sure that the children don’t get into trouble. Alfie isn’t there long before he hears a commotion. A child is crying for his mother. When Alfie goes over to investigate, he sees that the crying and fussing child is none other than Ian Barger. Ian is so upset that he cannot even tell the helpers his name, which is when Alfie steps forward.

Sometimes the “big kids” seem very big and unapproachable when you are little child going to nursery school. In this charming picture book, Alfie learns that even big boys sometimes need a helping hand. Even big boys miss their mothers.

With wonderful illustrations and a simple story that all children can relate to, this is a picture book that young children will enjoy reading again and again.