Molly, Olive & Dexter / The Brambly Hedge Pop-Up Book

Molly, Olive & Dexter
Catherine Rayner
Walker Books

Meet Molly the hare, Olive the owl and Dexter the fox whose home is a garden oak tree. The three friends love to play together and Molly’s favourite game is hide and seek. “I’ll count and you two hide,” she tells her pals as she begins to count down, “5,4,3,2 … 1!’ but on opening her eyes after the ‘here I come’ Olive and Dexter have clearly misunderstood what effective hiding is and Molly finds them right away. Somewhat frustratedly she instructs them twice more to try again, properly.

Their third attempt proves too good, for now Molly cannot find Olive and Dexter anywhere. Where can they be? Suppose they’ve got lost and even worse, she never sees them again.

Happily for all this isn’t the case.

As always Catherine Rayner’s watercolour illustrations are superb: her three characters are winsome winners that capture the essence of the animals portrayed and the flora a delicately detailed delight.
I look forward to further stories in this new series by the wonderful watercolourist; so too, I have no doubt, will young listeners.

The Brambly Hedge Pop-Up Book
Jill Barklem
Harper Collins Books

There’s wonderful rich detail too, in Jill Barklem’s illustrations and it’s testimony to the world she created that it lives on and will continue to entice new audiences with this publication. However it’s not so much a pop-up as a multi-layered book. There are six 3D scenes to delve into: prepare to be enraptured as you visit the Toadflax family’s cottage on Wilfred’s birthday, call on their neighbours Mr and Mrs Apple from where you can almost smell those delicious baking aromas of Mrs Apple as she works in her kitchen; join the wedding celebrations of Poppy and Dusty. and find out what happened when Primrose went exploring. All this and more thanks to Mrs Apple’s diary wherein she chronicles hedgerow life through the seasons.

For adult reviewers like myself this is all a trip down memory lane; for younger readers, it’s an opportunity to get to know Jill Barklem’s characters and something about their lives.

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