Picture Book Reviews · Picture Books

Review: AdoraBull by Alison Donald and Alex Willmore


Tom is all grown up and Derek the bull feels rejected. He and Tom used to be best friends. Now Tom is at school and he wants a pet. A cute pet. Derek sets out on a mission to make himself cute, but it is hard to be convincing when you are a bull …

A hilarious and warm-hearted narrative.

The story is right up to date. It uses internet trends and smart-phones to tell an age-old narrative. This means it could also be used to discuss the pressures of social media. Derek looks online and sees cute animals. Does this mean he needs to change himself? It is great to see modern-day problems reflected in children’s books.

Alfred also learns about his own beauty. When he stops trying to copy others, he does something genuinely cute. This is an important message at a time when young people feel increasingly pressured to alter their appearance.

The story could also be a metaphor for new-arrival jealousy. Alfred wants to upstage any new pets, but when the kitten arrives he bonds with it and everybody agrees that Alfred and Kitten make an adorable pair.

The illustrations allow us to read Derek’s emotions, first when he feels rejected and then as he sets about on his desperate attempt to win Tom’s affections back. They are also funny. It is difficult not to laugh at Derek strutting down the street, bedecked with bows. The reader knows ahead of Derek that his attempts aren’t working. This is a powerful form of humour which puts the reader in charge.

A book full of laughs and fuzzy-moments. A lovely bedtime story. 

Thanks to Maverick Books for my copy of AdoraBull. Opinions my own.

Louise Nettleton



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