The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty

posted in: Beatrice Alemagna | 2

fluffysquishyThe Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty by Beatrice Alemagna is a beautiful celebration of kindness, determination and how one little girl’s imagination helps her to solve an important problem.

Eddie wants to get a really special birthday present for her mum so she turns to her friends to help her out. Whilst they’re generous and kind, what they offer her doesn’t initially appear to be of any use. Dejected, she almost gives up, but then a bit of good luck and Eddie’s can-do attitude save the day.

Detailed street and shop scenes, mostly in soothing earthy tones, all wonderfully reproduced on sumptuously thick paper provide lots to drool over. From the cakes in the bakery to the curiosities in the antique shop, Alemagna’s illustrations provide hours of happy browsing.

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The neon pink of Eddie’s coat brings a splash of freshness and modernity to otherwise somewhat (charmingly) nostalgia-imbued scenes, and Eddie herself exudes spunk and verve, from her unkempt hair, to her approach to finding a way to make things work.

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A quirky, winsome tale exploring how we find out who we are and what we’re good at, The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty will encourage its readers to be brave, bold and unleash their imagination.

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You can get a really good idea of what this lovely book is like by watching this charming book trailer:

The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty from Thames & Hudson on Vimeo.

And if you’d like to see Beatrice at work, here’s a time lapse video of her drawing characters from this book:

Won over by the simple charm of Eddie and her marvellous fluffy squishy itty bitty we had a whole day re-living the book. First we made little handbags out of sheets of foam, pipecleaners and ribbon; Everywhere Eddie goes she has a little red handbag. For our handbags I prepared holes for sewing with a simple hole punch.

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We made lots of our own FSIBs (Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitties), using two different techniques: one is based on a fork, and the other loo rolls. Both are easy for kids to make themselves, with perhaps just a little help depending on the age of the kids.

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Our largest FSIB was turned into a piece of headgear mirroring the gift Eddie’s mum finally receives. I do love book inspired hats, and this is no exception!

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Our FSIBs played Hide and Seek whilst we made sticky toffee buns; Eddie’s baker friend gives her a warm sticky bun when he’s unable to help with her original request.

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I used a bread dough mix, adding milk instead of water. After the initial proving, M rolled out the dough and smeared it with a mixture of butter, sugar and chopped up pieces of fudge. These melted to create a toffee-like sauce for the buns. Our basic recipe was inspired by these more detailed experiments into sticky bun making, found on the Guardian website.

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A few stamps, buttons and four leaf clovers (reflecting other items Eddie receives during her mission to get her Mum a wonderful birthday present) completed our play. It was a very good day!

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Whilst making our marvellous fluffy squishy itty bitties and munching on sticky toffee buns we listened to:

  • Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini by Brian Hyland. It’s easy to feel somewhat uncomfortable with this in the 21st century, but it is a classic and the music is very catchy.
  • A Little Bitty Tear by Burl Ives. A rather sad song, but Ives is a master.
  • With A Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading this book include:

  • Reading some Pippi Longstocking stories. Opposite the title page of The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty there’s a quote from Pippi Longstocking: “Children need a little order in their lives. Especially when they can order it themselves!“. This seems to me like a glorious opportunity to introduce your kids to one of the most amazing characters in all of children’s literature.
  • Starting a stamp collection. They’re a fabulous way into geography and history as well as each being perfect miniature pieces of art. The American Philatic Society has some tips to get you going. Alternatively, use pretty stamps as paintings in dollhouses, or as illustrations in mini home-made books.
  • Eddie has to do some washing at some point in the story and turns to her local fountain so why not use this as an excuse to find out where your nearest public fountain is and visit it. Or be inspired to create your own with sprinklers and a paddling pool by looking at these amazing fountains around the world.

  • If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me:

  • Using pompoms to customise wooly hats
  • Using pompoms to make lemurs!
  • Creating fluffy white mice out of pompoms
  • pompomlinks

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    2 Responses

    1. Looks like the sort of book to get lost in, I received a book token recently and am really tempted to get some children’s books for me!
      Katherine recently posted..A move

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