Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

2 more fabulous read alouds with rude bits

Posted on | August 23, 2012 | 12 Comments

“Do your briefs give you grief in the morning?
Do your knickers get tied up in knots?
Are you forced to wear tight, itchy, brown ones
Or long, floppy, grey ones with spots?”

Don’t worry, I’m not asking for full disclosure in the comments, I simply wanted to give you a flavour of the cheeky and cheerful Don’t Put Your Pants on Your Head, Fred! by Caryl Hart and Leigh Hodgkinson, one of the books we’ve been enjoying a lot this summer holidays.

Fred has problems getting himself dressed in the morning. It’s all a little bit too complicated! He asks for help from an unlikely quarter, but in the end the person who saves the day is an even bigger (and even funnier) surprise.

There’s so much to love about this book!

It’s simply a delight to read aloud; Caryl Hart’s text bounces beautifully along and trips of the tongue like a dream. Kids will only take a couple of readings before they’re joining in with the rhymes and having fun with the beat.

The slightly higgeldy-piggeldy illustrations are charming, with lots of collage alongside drawings with type all over the page, in different directions and sizes, helping make the reading even more dynamic. If your kids like the look of Charlie and Lola I’m sure they’ll love Leigh Hodgkinson’s illustration.

There’s a cheekiness at the heart of the story that will delight little kids. Perhaps the twist shouldn’t come as a surprise given we all know about The Queen’s grand collection of knickers thanks to Nicholas Allen, but still the ultimate source of help for Fred will definitely get kids giggling at the outrageousness of it all.

And… dare I say it, the book’s rather “useful” – we all know kids who have struggled in the morning to get their clothes on, and this takes that recognisable situation, shows kids they’re not alone and makes everything possible with a good dose of laughter and a sing song catch phrase.

The same team created Don’t Dip Your Chips in Your Drink, Kate (in fact this book was published prior to Don’t Put Your Pants on Your Head, Fred! thought I discovered them in the order I’m presenting them today), a book nominally about table manners.

What could be a stuffy, boring tale is actually a riot. Again this is a book which begs to be read aloud so that everyone can really relish the rollicking rhyme and rhythm. The illustrations here are jam packed with rich and wonderful looking food. And whereas Fred does learn what his parents need him to do (get dressed correctly), Kate discovers a shocking secret at the heart of the poshest family in the land; even thought we now, post Olympics, know the Queen likes to skydive (find out more here if you missed it), it turns out she’s actually got an even wilder side to her when it comes to tea time rules.

Naughty, mischievous and so much fun both these books come with my highest recommendation. My only slight sorrow is that I didn’t discover these two books in time for the Jubilee celebrations – both feature royalty in a fun and cheeky manner, a great antidote to reverential doffing of caps. If you’ve a Kings and Queens theme coming up at school do please include these in the mix. I promise they will bring smiles and giggles to the classroom.

Now I’ve worn pants on my head before for this blog, and even if it did earn me the moniker of coolest kid on the block from someone who I’d normally say has impeccable taste, I figured it wasn’t a stunt that I could pull off again. You know, I don’t want to be notorious for that sort of thing…

But rummaging around in the various underwear drawers in our home, thinking about these two wickedly, wonderful books I did strike upon an idea which combines elements from both: underwear and food in the form of sock cup-cakes.

Using this video and a whole bunch of stray socks I prepared a tray of cakes:

DIY sock cupcakes from Pippa on Vimeo.

The video is great, but I tweaked the process slightly. For a start I paired up two socks which were slightly different in size, the larger one being the one underneath, whose end gets opened out and folded over to hold everything in place at the end. I found using a slightly larger sock made the folding over bit work a little easier. I also chose to turn this (larger) sock inside out so that when I folded the open end over it turned the right side out. Probably not an issue if you’ve socks with decorated cuffs, or plain socks where the inside and outside are the same, but for me it worked well to make the cakes a little neater.

Once the cupcakes were made I handed them over the girls to decorate with sprinkles aka dress pins and beads. They threaded a bead on to a pin, then stuck it in the cup cake, and repeated the process till all cakes were all covered in sprinkles.

Pretty delicious looking results, even if I say so myself!

With my 4 and 7 year olds I had no safety issues – their little fingers and hands didn’t have any problems with the pins, no fingers were pricked, and no-one ended up falling under an enchantment and sleeping for 100 years.

Whilst we made our cakes we listened to:

  • Monday Pants by Jam Toast
  • Put Your Pants On by Big Bang Boom
  • Everything Tastes Good With Ketchup by Mother’s Little Helpers


  • Other activities we’d like to try alongside reading these two books include:

  • Making and playing with this cardboard cake designed by IkatBag
  • Taking the baking thing even further and creating these gorgeous polystyrene cupcakes, also from Ikatbag.
  • Having a go at all the various pants activities (bunting, flags and more!) at Caryl Hart’s website.


  • What are your favourite cheeky reads at the moment?

    Disclosure: The author sent me a copy of Don’t Dip Your Chips in Your Drink, Kate. This review, however, reflects my own and honest opinion.

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    Comments

    12 Responses to “2 more fabulous read alouds with rude bits”

    1. Rachel
      August 23rd, 2012 @ 12:48 am

      Loved your post. The two books by Caryl Hart that you reviewed sound fantastic. I’m sure my daughters would love them. I’ll have to look out for them next time we go to the library. Awesome illustrations. Love your sock cupcakes too. Delicious!
      Rachel recently posted..The Lost Stars

    2. Bethany @ No Twiddle Twaddle
      August 23rd, 2012 @ 1:17 am

      I love the cupcakes! Both books sound like a ton of fun to read. Thanks for the review!
      Bethany @ No Twiddle Twaddle recently posted..Finding Free Kids’ EBooks the No Twiddle Twaddle Way

    3. Zoe
      August 23rd, 2012 @ 6:40 am

      Thanks Bethany and Rachel, the cupcakes were a lot of fun to make – they looked like little treasures once covered in beads.

    4. Jill
      August 23rd, 2012 @ 8:00 am

      These sound such fun that I have ordered them straight away from Amazon to put in my Christmas book for my great-niece.

      Thanks Zoe

    5. Zoe
      August 23rd, 2012 @ 8:02 am

      Way to go Jill! I think your great niece will love them as much as you’ll enjoy reading them to her. Smiles all around I think!

    6. choxbox
      August 23rd, 2012 @ 8:20 am

      Sound AWESOME!

      Love the cupcakes. Zoe, we need to do an indepth analysis of how your brain works! How does it really?!

    7. Zoe
      August 23rd, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

      Ha Choxbox, if I knew how my brain worked I’d definitely be happy to share that with you, but mostly my brain is entirely mysterious to me ;-)
      Zoe recently posted..2 more fabulous read alouds with rude bits

    8. Annabel Deuchar
      August 23rd, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

      These sound so cool, I love mischievious books, and I love all the craft ideas around the theme too. Thanks for such a fun and useful post. My best cheeky kids read… not in the same league as your two, but we are LOVING ‘Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants’. Great silly story and fab illustrations. God knows how many times I read it on holiday.

    9. Zoe
      August 24th, 2012 @ 7:41 am

      oh Annable, Sir Scallywag is WONDERFUL – so much fun indeed. I’ve read it wearing golden underpants on my head: http://www.playingbythebook.net/2012/02/10/the-best-new-read-aloud-with-rude-bits/ Sir Scallyway would go brilliantly with Fred :)

    10. Caryl hart
      August 24th, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

      Thank you so much, Zoe, for this wonderful review!
      It’s such a joy for me when children AND parents enjoy my books.

      I’m loving the sock cupcakes too!

    11. Melissa @ Honey Bee Books
      August 25th, 2012 @ 8:10 am

      Your cupcakes are just adorable! I can’t wait to find these books, they have gone straight onto my wish list. My kids are very fond of Pig’s Knickers by Jonathan Emmett at the moment.
      Melissa @ Honey Bee Books recently posted..iTunes Gift Card Winner

    12. Zoe
      August 26th, 2012 @ 7:16 am

      Thank you Caryl :D

      Hi Melissa, I shall look up Pig’s Knickers – thanks for the tip.
      Zoe recently posted..2 more fabulous read alouds with rude bits

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