So which’ll it be?
That dining dilemma is just one of the quandaries that fill John Burningham’s stand-alone sequel to his 40-year-old classic, Would You Rather.
More Would You Rather brings to the page the same anarchic humour and whimsical, personality-packed pictures that first endeared its predecessor to children and adults alike. The formula remains blessedly unchanged: each spread presents choices nice (‘would you rather…?’) or nasty (‘would it be worse if…?’). Sounds simple? Well brace yourself, because some of these questions are tough. I mean, which truly would be worse, everybody laughing at you or an eagle stealing your clothes? And let’s not even get into the merits of being told a tale by a tiger versus a wizard singing you a song.
It’s a game of a book, and though its concept dates back to days before anyone would have thought to ramble on about it being an interactive reading experience or something equally joyless sounding, it remains every bit as appealing and utterly shareable, regardless of your age.
I do wonder whether the current generation of tots will find it quite as novel. Not because their world is so cluttered with whizz-bang technology, but purely because they’re given choices in everything from before they can even talk. As my mum constantly reminds me when she overhears me asking my daughter what she’d like for lunch, kids just never used to be asked.
But then, the beauty of this book is that you never really do have to choose. Once you’ve breakfasted with the bears, you can simply start again at the beginning and lunch with a lion. Who wouldn’t want to spend time in such a magical world, even if it means having to put up with an elephant making a terrible smell (much better that than a camel being sick down your neck, no?).
More Would You Rather by John Burningham is published by Cape at £11.99. Suggested age range: 5-7. Or so says the publisher but there’s plenty for a two-and-a-half year old here. And a 42 year old.