There are many ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

The storytime book of choice for November is the silly, quirky and kooky ‘The tall man and the twelve babies’. It was awarded as an Honour Book by The Children’s Book Council of Australia in the Early Childhood category (2011).

This zany picture book tells the tale of six baby boys all called Alistair and six baby girls all called Charlene. They all live with a very tall man in a small apartment in a big city. One day the apartment door slams shut with the tall man and the Charlenes on one side and the Alistairs on the other. What will the tall man do?

The tall man tries to crawl through the cat flap but gets stuck. All the Alistairs are playing in his curly hair, while all the Charlenes are surfing on his spindly legs. To the babies this is just an extra good game. Will the tall man ever get back inside?

Essentially a funny tale of being a parent, it is told in simple prose. The comical nature of the story is reflected in the vibrant, cartoon-style illustrations. The little round faces of the twelve babies are a delight. The drawings of the tall man, with his long skinny legs, expressive face, amazing rainbow-hued corkscrew curls, spotted scarf and chequered trousers give him a very distinct appearance.

The book is a collaboration between Tom Niland Champion and his mother Kilmeny Niland, who sadly passed away prior to the book’s completion. Her twin sister, Deborah Niland, illustrated the story.

Toddlers will enjoy counting the babies, engage with the charming baby faces that show up on every page and find humour in a grown-up trying to squeeze through a cat flap. If parents can suspend disbelief and just go with it, they will discover a riot of babies and silliness.

The Tall Man and the Twelve Babies is a wonderful new addition to our “Babies” themed storytime session. Why not share a book with your toddler today? Happy reading!