There’s yet more fun with Mtoto this week as a book he got for Christmas has fired his imagination.

Axel Scheffler is best known for his illustrations of Julia Donaldson’s Gruffalo and some of her other stories. Some of his other work is rather fun, especially Flip Flap Safari, which is a book of two halves. Each double spread has a a poem on the left top and another on the left bottom, both relating to the animal drawn on the right. But each page is split, with its name down the side. So, for example you can look at a lion or a flamingo, but if you turn the pages right, you can end up with a Limingo with a Lion’s head and top body and a Flamingo’s legs. Or you might have a Zebra’s head and an Elephant’s legs to make a Zebphant. Got that?

Axel Scheffler's Flip Flap Safari by Nosy Crow

Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Safari by Nosy Crow

Mtoto has taken this wonderful game out of the book and into his imagination. Although he’s not using names for things, he goes around saying things like “Pappa’s head and the sofa’s legs” or “the lampshade’s head and the bin’s bottom”. Each version is followed by a little chuckle. We’ve caught on and are once again affirming his choices as well as coming up with our own versions, helping to stretch his imagination and explore what might be possible.

Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Safari is also available as an app, apparently.

I’ll confess that I didn’t think much of this book when I first saw it. I figured that it was just some company cashing in on Axel Scheffler’s name to make some quick cash. But after the fun Mtoto has been having with it, I’m all in favour!

(Janathon exercise: a mile walk today in the snow to get Mtoto off to sleep. 2015: Red-crested Pochards, Mute Swans, Black-headed Gulls, Mallards, Goosander and a Coot down at Baby Plage.)