'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 14 July 2023

Review: Mr McGee And The Biting Flea

Those of us who’ve been stuck in a small space with a persistent mosquito for any length of time, will know what it’s like to be dive-bombed both physically and aurally by an unwanted assailant. 

The childlike, delightful and a-little-bit-naughty Mr McGee seems to know this too, when he is attacked by a flea that simply will not give up in the opening stages of this romp of a picture book.

Master children’s storyteller Pamela Allen creates works that are fresh, vibrant and dynamic. Her beloved Mr McGee and The Biting Flea is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this year, and yet it feels absolutely sparkly and new and appropriate for today’s readers, in this gorgeous board book presentation.

Mr McGee is flying his kite by the beach when suddenly he feels an itch. He scratches and moans and cries and gesticulates and pulls off items of clothing one by one, until finally he races into the water in an attempt to remove the biting, itchy, nasty thing that won’t go away. 

There are three characters in this funny, read-aloud book that becomes more and more outrageous as the narrative develops: Mr McGee, a dog that won’t leave him alone and a flea that we never actually see.

The illustrations are perfect and perfectly funny. Classed as pen and wash, they’re scribbly line drawings that have been coloured in with watercolour paint. There’s a lovely amount of white space and oftentimes, eight or ten illustrations of Mr McGee in various states of itching, scratching and galumphing across the double-page spread. 

This board book is fun, entertaining and interactive - children won’t be able to stop themselves from the chorus that smatters itself throughout the story.




Cried Mr McGee.’ 

It’s just wonderful.

Title: Mr McGee And The Biting Flea
Author/Illustrator: Pamela Allen
Publisher: Puffin, $16.99
Publication Date: 5 July 2023
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781761340970
For ages: 3 - 6
Type: Board Book