Book Title: The Man Who Wore All His Clothes (The Gaskitts)

Details: Author: Ahlberg, Allan

Reading Age: 6 - 7

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd

ISBN-13: 9781844281299

Number of pages: 80

Dimensions: 17 x 13.2 x 1 cm

Retail Price: €4.99

  • €4.50

Book Details

Publishers Weekly
An appealingly madcap plot, dialogue that verges on slapstick and sprightly pictures keep this early chapter book rolling along at a snappy clip. Ahlberg (The Snail House) introduces Mr. and Mrs. Gaskitt and their nine-year-old twins, Gus and Gloria. One December morning, Mr. Gaskitt gets dressed, donning multiple layers of clothing: 'He put on his tee shirt and underwear and socks, and his socks and tee shirt and underwear, and his underwear and socks and tee shirt.' While he drives off in his car to an undisclosed location, Mrs. Gaskitt zooms off in her taxi to pick up a passenger whom kids will immediately recognize as a bank robber. The culprit eventually flees the taxi and boards a school bus carrying Gus and Gloria and their classmates, precipitating a farcical chase scene involving the bus, both Gaskitt parents' vehicles, a police car and the van of a camera-toting news reporter. Ahlberg adds to the mayhem with some absurd asides: the radio in Mr. Gaskitt's car bungles the news reports and the twins' teacher barks such instructions as 'Fingers on lips! Elbows on knees!' McEwen's (Cows in the Kitchen) watercolor and crayon art comically captures the lighthearted tone of the tale, topped off by the revelation of the well-padded pater's profession: playing Santa. This is good silly fun. Ages 7-9. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Children's Literature
This harum-scarum story first published in Britain reads as if controlled by a TV remote. Mr. Gaskitt dresses in too many layers of clothes. Why? Never mind. Mrs. Gaskitt drives a taxi and is picking up a man at the bank. The kids are off to school The car radio gets the news wrong or talks back, the gas pump speaks up, and a substitute teacher speaks out-the kids are supposed to do exercises in their seats before heading off to swimming class. Meanwhile, a robbery at the bank takes place, Mrs. Gaskitt picks up a man there, figures out who he is, the man escapes onto the field trip bus with the children, and a huge chase takes place until the robber is sat upon by Mr. Gaskitt in all of his many layers of clothes. Which, it turns out, he wears underneath his work clothes-a Santa Claus suit. Whew. The humor-a bit of slapstick, some silly stuff, the chase, and side comments from the cat-are bound to appeal to second graders. And McEwen's crisp, friendly, full-color cartoon characters stand out on the shiny white paper and are a real plus to this fragmented, ultimately coherent and entertaining, but not especially satisfying story. 2001, Candlewick, Press, $12.99. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewer: Susan Hepler

School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Why is skinny Mr. Gaskitt putting on all his clothes? How does Mrs. Gaskitt's taxi become a getaway vehicle for some bank robbers? How does the children's school bus get involved in the heist? And, most importantly, what do all these madcap activities have to do with the newspaper headline, 'Father Christmas Saves the Day'? This is only tangentially a Christmas tale, but independent readers will zip through the easy-reading, 10-chapter story. Watercolor-and-crayon illustrations on pages beautifully designed to include lots of white space result in an inviting look. Numerous funny touches in text and illustrations and a surprise ending will lure many readers back for a second pleasurable run through the mayhem.-S. P. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
The Gaskitt family has an exciting morning in this tilt-a-whirl tale from the ever-innovative Ahlberg (The Adventures of Bert, p. 798, etc.). Mr. Gaskitt rises in the morning, dons three sets of socks and underwear, three shirts, two pairs of pants, four sweaters, and four coats. Has Mr. Gaskitt blown a gasket? Not at all, for, after helping his taxi-driver wife and bouncy children foil a hapless bank robber, he reports at last to work-as a department-store Santa. Ahlberg divides his simply related lark into 11 brief chapters, shifting point of view freely from Gaskitt to Gaskitt, adding occasional surreal details, such as a car radio that"