A Practical Present for Philippa Pheasant

A Practical Present for Philippa Pheasant
Briony May Smith
Walker Books

Philippa Pheasant lives in the forest close to Fairhurst village. Whenever she tries to cross the Old Oak Road in search of juicy blackberries, she’s almost knocked ‘pancake-flat’ by the cars that speed past seemingly out of nowhere. One day she decides that enough is enough; her friend hedgehog suggests writing to the Mayor, which Philippa does but her letter receives no reply.

The following day as she wanders along the lane near the school Philippa notices something that interests her greatly. A woman wearing a bright yellow uniform is standing in the middle of the road stopping the traffic so that the children can cross safely outside their school. This gives Philippa an idea; right away she sets about making something

and the next morning there’s a large gathering of woodland creatures waiting to hear what their pheasant friend has to say. Why is she wearing that strange attire?

Suddenly Philippa is thrust into the local limelight.

And the rest, shall we say, is full of surprises.

With her wonderful portrayal of rural life by day and by night, and a brave, determined avian protagonist, Briony May Smith has created another winner. I love the autumnal tones of the scenes, the wealth of amusing and interesting details, and the way Briony has used light and shadow to give her illustrations extra depth, all of which make the story even more of a delight.

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