Pops by Gavin Bishop

Pops – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: bold, direct, primitive, simple, special.
Children’s book title: Pops.
Children’s author: Gavin Bishop.
Children’s illustrator: Gavin Bishop.
Genre: Board book picture book.
Published by: Gecko Press.
ISBN: 9781776574001
Recommended for children aged: 2-4 year olds.
First published: Board book May 2022.
This children’s book is ideal for: reading to and with toddlers.

Pops by Gavin Bishop

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Our review:

I don’t remember being taught, systematically, in a classroom, to read. But I have a very clear memory of one of my aunts pointing to the word OXO in white letters on a red tin and telling me, ‘That says OXO. It looks a bit like a face, doesn’t it ?’ I think I was three, or possibly even younger.

That was a tremendous thing to realise: those shapes stand for sounds and the sounds mean something. They describe the world. You could say they are the world. And you only have to see that once.

Pops by Gavin Bishop spread 1

The process is a bit of a mystery, but then so is consciousness itself. During the first years of our lives the brain is blazing like a furnace, forging infinite connections and equations. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. I suspect most of us are amateurs in this field. I once did a one-year course in the teaching of reading; at the end of it I still didn’t really get it.

At one of the Primary Schools where I did some of my research the Head told me, ‘We should just give each kid a Bible and let them work it out. It’ll work, believe me.’ And who’s to know if it definitely wouldn’t? Or that the O.M (Oxo Method) isn’t the only way? Or that sitting with Mum, Dad or a grandparent is the sure-fire winner?

I’m convinced that the last of these is best. When I’m with my four-year-old grandson we manage to find something to read everywhere: the street-names, the odd things you see written on manhole covers, the name Rosemary cut into some roof-tiles I found. And we sit together and read picture-books.

Pops by Gavin Bishop spread 2

Gavin Bishop has produced a very stimulating, very special book which will appeal to children aged between two and four.

In only nine double-pages, printed on thick card, we follow the unnamed narrator and his/her grandpa as they spend the day gathering together the ingredients of a sandwich, telling stories and saying goodnight.

The illustrations are bold, direct and strangely primitive, simple and at the same time holding within them a lot to point at and talk about.

Many thanks to Gecko Press for the review copy.

If you like Pops by Gavin Bishop you might also like: our reviews of The Little Thing by Nick Cave, Book of Numbers by Oliver Jeffers, A Million Dots by Sven Völker, NO! said Rabbit by Marjoke Henrichs and Zoom Adventure Series by What on Earth Books.

Browse our list of picture books for EYFS and books for KS1.

About Laurence Inman

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Laurence is an actor, poet, short-story writer, playwright, screenwriter, cartoonist, public speaker, retired lecturer, and former English teacher. IMDb | Linkedin | Reviews by Laurence Inman