Fun with Mammy and Katie
As with Colm O’Regan’s book, the illustrations are consistently funny. A photo of Katie staring at a rubber duck with great concern on her face suggests that she was actually worried about the implications of the Anglo-Irish bailout.
But it’s the asides that often work best, as in: “Dada and Mama are always around the house. (I find this slightly sinister.) She is on maternity leave, and I think he does something in ‘the media’ – possibly a ‘film maker’.”
And when Katie becomes entranced, not by The Gruffalo or The Incredible Book-Eating Boy but by Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger, the stage is set for one of the great student-mentor relationships of recent times: baby Katie and the editor of these very pages, Fintan O’Toole.
Fortunately for us, this is a relationship that her childminder, the enigmatic Siobhan Devlin, encourages: “She knows how interested I am in the economic situation of the country and how keen I am to learn from Fintan.”
Katie is convinced that Fintan would be good at cuddles and is keen to pursue this avenue. The tone of the book, wisdom and humour from an unexpected source, is a familiar one; it worked to great effect in Paul Howard’s recent Triggs: The Autobiography of Roy Keane’s Dog, and works almost as well here.
As Katie grows, so do her acquaintances. She forms friendships with a group of politically astute infants, Babies for Change; her incipient friendship with one merits comparison with the first meeting of Martin Amis and Christopher Hitchens; another suffers under the suspicion that the baby shows signs of being a neocon. Soon, Siobhan Devlin has suggested an Angry Baby! blog, which ultimately leads to media appearances, a potential tour with the O’Toole/David McWilliams/Shane Ross triumvirate and a tickle under the chin from Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show.
Dipping in and out
These are the kind of books that you pick up to dip in and out of but end up reading from cover to cover in one sitting, skimming the boring stuff, laughing out loud at the funny stuff – and which are ultimately as forgettable as they are entertaining. I could be a Grinch and suggest that spending € 12 on a hardback joke book might be considered something of a luxury in what Katie Woods would no doubt call these straitened times, but perhaps that would not be in keeping with the festive season.
Unlike dogs, books like this are not for life, they’re just for Christmas, and if you’re looking for a little ho-ho-ho then they’ll certainly pass the time between the midday dinner and the late-night turkey sandwiches.