Hilda and the Runaway Baby

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Hilda and the Runaway Baby
Daisy Hurst
Walker Books
This gloriously ridiculous story centres on the unlikely bond formed between Hilda, a pot-bellied pig who lives peacefully and she thinks, happily, at the foot of a hill and a chubby-faced baby who lives at the top of the hill and has a habit of being in unexpected places; hence the name – Runaway Baby. Now this baby is an observant little chap and so on his walks with mum and dad, he would notice interesting things such as a bird that is flying away. Almost inevitably (this was the top of the hill remember) his reaching towards said bird results in this happening –

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Realising the baby’s plight, Hilda gives chase and eventually the two find themselves face to face on the ground. “I think we’d better get you home,” says Hilda after introductions: “Hello, Baby … My name is Hilda” responded to by a “Da” from the infant.
Pushing the pram and its load proves exhausting for Hilda though it is rewarded with milk and part of a broken biscuit by the Runaway Baby who then comes up with an idea, an idea which is much better suited to a pig’s four-footed manner of walking …

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Eventually the two arrive safe and sound at the Baby’s home, after which, Hilda returns to her own home that now feels somewhat cold and lonely.
Job done then: story over? Not quite, for during the night a certain baby wakes, remembers a certain pig and  howls piteously which results in some moonlit perambulations on the pig’s part …

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and – ultimately – in something rather surprising, at least for Hilda. As for the Runaway Baby, well there are still plenty of surprising places just waiting for a visit …
Daisy Hurst goes from strength to strength. Her wonderfully whimsical  illustrations bring sheer delight at every turn of the page and she has such a talent for delivering marvellously maverick and memorable tales.

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