Title: The Naughty Naughty Baddies
Written by: Mark Sperring
Illustrated by: David Tazzyman
Publisher: Bloomsbury
RRP: $14.99 pbk (AUD)

The naughty naughty baddies seem to always be up to no good. The foursome love to creep, planning their next naughty deed. One day, when looking for something naughty to do, they think up a plan to steal the spots off the Queen’s dog. After an eventful journey to the palace, they creep past the guards, the King on his throne, and into the Queen’s throne room where the dog is sleeping. After performing their deed however, they are overcome with laughter at the sight of the spotless dog and are caught. But these naughty naughty baddies are clever at getting out of their punishment!

What a wonderfully fun read this is. The baddies are mischievous and inventive. The verbal language is well worked and fun, perfect for reading aloud. Mark Sperring has used a variety of figurative language to make this book come alive. David Tazzyman’s mixed media illustrations and his use of direction, line and colour, are just as lively. The verbal and visual elements work together beautifully, making a superbly hilarious picture book.

This book deserves many readings. Each reading gives a different aspect through the illustrations with deliberate and clever placement to suit the narrative, while the writing is refreshing and original with every read. Intertextuality is present in a scene in the palace with one of Britain’s famous landscape artists, adding more to the richness. There is much to love about this book.

Activity Suggestions

  • Look at the figurative language used. List the various devices, what they mean and examples from the book. Alliteration and onomatopoeia are the most frequent. Look for these in other books.
  • Discuss adjectives. Look for them in this book and try replacing them with other words that mean the same. Does is sound as good? Why/Why not? What happens to the alliteration and onomatopoeia? Discuss the importance of figurative language as a narrative tool.
  • Brainstorm things you can do with a bag of spots.
  • Read other books about spots and dots.
  • When the baddies are caught the Queen has a plan. What would your plan be if you were the Queen?
  • Storyboard the book into a play and have groups in the class act out different scenes.
  • Using one coloured pencil, sketch your town as seen from a high viewpoint. If possible, visit a lookout.

Many thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for supplying this book for review.