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Uncle Alonzo’s Beard by Emma King-Farlow is a picture book suitable for both boys and girls. I would recommend it for children aged between 3 and 7, although my fourteen year old daughter likes this book very much, mainly because she has a thing about comedy beards.

This is a rhyming story.  Children, in my extensive experience, love a rhyming story.  As an adult reading them, I’m not so keen. The metre and the rhythm are often all over the place, which makes them harder to read in a ‘normal’ way, and they can often sound quite weird and stilted if you’re reading them aloud, unless you practice first.

Not that it puts my children off, at all, and I highly recommend rhyming style stories for children, particularly children who are not confident with reading. Their ability to guess line endings can really give them confidence, and make them believe they are reading, which then helps them when they actually come to read.

Uncle Alonzo’s Beard tells the story of strange Uncle Alonzo, who wakes up to find people living and working in his rather magnificent beard.

Alonzo loves the people who live in his beard, and for that very reason, he does not shave his beard off for years and years, despite the fact that it is getting rather uncomfortable.  He wishes he could shave it off, but he doesn’t want to make all his friends homeless, and he would be lonely without them.

One day, disaster strikes, when Alonzo’s beard sets on fire.

Will his friends be saved?  Where will they live?

This is a surreal, silly book, with lovely illustrations that match the bonkers story. There is lots to talk about, and it is a firm favourite with my children, who repeatedly get it out of the library for me to read to them.