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When bedtime reading backfires #1

We hadn’t read this for a while, so I was pleased when Milo chose Up and Down for his bedtime reading choice the other night. We read, we laughed hysterically at “Bam!” and the sight of the penguin and the boy laid out on the floor and then Milo got into bed, said goodnight to his clock, told me what he was grateful for that day (school and imaginary pancakes), listened to mummy singing to him and snuggled down.

All was fine. I was beginning to think about my dinner. Until…

“Mummy, what caught the boy and the penguin’s eyes?”

“The poster did, asking for a human cannonball, giving the penguin an opportunity to fly.”

“But, how did the poster catch their eyes?”

“Oh! I see… ‘caught their eyes’ is a saying, it just means ‘grabbed their attention’ or ‘they spotted it’ – it didn’t actually catch their eyes. Rightho, time to settle down now.”

“Mummy, why was there smoke coming out of the cannonball?”

“Well, because you have to blast out of a cannonball to be able to fly and well, blasting sometimes makes smoke.”

Cue hysterical laughter for some reason.

“Mummy, is the penguin asthmatic?”

“No. Time to go to …”

“So, the smoke won’t hurt him?”

“No, it won’t hurt him. Right, now Milo, it really is….”

“Mummy, was it a jumbo jet that the boy wanted to go on?”

“I can’t remember – did it have four engines?”

“I think it did. Wow! A jumbo jet. He’s a lucky boy.”

“Well, the boy wasn’t going on the jumbo jet, he was just looking for the penguin in the airport in case the penguin wanted to go on a jumbo jet.”


“Because he wanted to fly, remember. Now, it really is time to…”

“But mummy, why didn’t he like flying in the end? The penguin, why didn’t he like flying?”

“He found it a bit scary didn’t he. And then the boy had to catch him and they fell.”

Cue hysterical laughter, obviously remembering  the penguin and the boy laid out on the floor.


Argh! And so it continued, delaying my dinner remarkably. Thank you to Oliver Jeffers, genius of picture book creations that my boy loves to read and ask questions about!

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