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Snip Snap! and Snip Snap, Look Who’s Back! by Mara Bergman and Nick Maland, are a couple of picture book favourites of my children.

Snip Snap tells the story of three children who, while in their apartment, become aware of something coming towards them, something menacing.  Something loud and scary and dangerous.  It is an alligator.

But will it snip snap them up?

Reviewers have likened this to Michael Rosen’s classic; ‘We’re going on a bear hunt!’  and I agree that there are certain aspects of it which are similar.  There is a wonderful sense of rhythm and repetition to the writing, which builds up the sense of tension in the book beautifully, just like Bear Hunt.

Unlike Bear Hunt, however, there is a real sense of humour that I find lacking in Bear Hunt, and which really brought this book to life for me.  I love the fact that the children are unashamedly scared, and rightly so.  I also thought that the twist in the tale, of the children managing to scare the alligator as much as they themselves are scared, really made the whole book.

The illustrations are beautifully attuned to the text, and the combination of text and pictures and the way the story is paced across the pages, makes it a joy to read.

Snip Snap, Look Who’s Back! is the follow on text to the original story.

It shows the alligator returning, this time not to the children’s apartment, but to a local playground, where the children and lots of other parents and children are playing.  The humans think the alligator wants to eat them. The alligator has other ideas.

I found this less satisfying, although my children were just as delighted with it.

I think it doesn’t work as well, because by now, if you’ve read ‘Snip Snap’, you will already have figured out the reveal, and the story loses some of its punch because of it.

There are still some lovely moments of humour.  I thoroughly enjoyed the double page illustration of all the humans running about shouting ‘argh!’ and ‘help!’, and there is still that sense of celebration to the text that makes it fun to read and share, but it is undoubtedly a weaker story than the original.

Both books are suitable for children aged between two and six, both boys and girls.  The story would be a good one to tell to, or share with a child if they have reached that stage of being afraid of things and need a little reassurance that everything is going to be alright, and that it is perfectly normal to be scared.