The Scarecrows’ Wedding
Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler
Alison Green Books
Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay are in love. He proposes: she accepts. They plan for their wedding, “A wedding that no one will ever forget.” How do they plan? They make a list of course: a comparatively simple one comprising just five items.
Then, arm in arm, they set off around the farm to find:
First things first – and that’s easy thanks to some obliging geese who furnish a feather a-piece. Said feathers, we learn are to be duly sewn together by a spider friend. The cows, of course, agree to be bell ringers (the last item on the list taken care of); a crab – yes a crab – just happens to scuttle along with a shell necklace, that’s item two sorted, and a couple of mice find suitable matching rings. That just leaves item number three – pink flowers.
Off goes Harry, in the company of a large bee to find those, leaving Betty to have a doze. Hours later, they reach a field full of pink flowers – job done. Well not quite … wilted flowers won’t do and it’s a long way back so water is needed and …
Meanwhile back on the farm Betty is troubled by her loved one’s absence. The farmer quickly makes a replacement, one Reginald Rake.
The name says it all and before long, in an effort to impress the lady, he’s whipped out a packet of Havanas, lit up and …
There’s no smoke without fire …we all know the saying. Guess who is beating a hasty retreat through the cornfield.
All is not quite lost however. The timely return of Betty’s fiancé ‘with a pail on his arm’ saves the day
and provides the final item on their list.
So next day, it’s a case of ‘Here comes the bride’ on the arm of her savior for what everyone has to agree,
‘ “Is the best wedding ever, the best wedding yet,
The wedding that no one will ever forget.” ‘
A wonderfully rhythmic tale – this is Julia Donaldson, so one would expect no less – with high drama, suspense, romance and humour in a rhyming narrative that just trips off the tongue. Alex Scheffler brings the scarecrows to life through their expressive eyes and mouths despite their stiff limbs and populates his pictures with all manner of farmland extras from grasshoppers to goats, butterflies to badgers.
There are few scarecrow picture books around; this is the only one that really works, but then it is from the Gruffalo partnership.
A sure fire winner in my book.
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