Hugg ‘n’ Bugg Finding Home

Hugg ’n’ Bugg Finding Home
Ian Brown and Eoin Clarke

High in the Himalayas lives Bugg, a mountain flea. Unlike most of the other creatures living in this chilly location, Bugg does not like the freezing climatic conditions and so decides to search for somewhere warm to shelter. The sight of him bobble-hatted and carrying a load on his back is hilarious. First a lost sock and then a stinky boot, offer temporary accommodation and then he quickly rejects the bat-filled cave. Eventually, after a series of other unsuitable stops, Bugg takes a huge leap, landing somewhere promising at last – in the fur of the Abominable Snowman, aka Hugg. This huge creature introduces itself as “Bummy Nubble Snowman” going on to explain that on account of his looks he keeps himself hidden on the highest ground. Bugg offers to look after the Yeti in return for a home in his warm hair and a deal is done.

A deal that leads to the most unlikely of friendships and some tonsorial treats for Hugg.

Totally crazy and hugely entertaining is this latest Brown/ Clarke collaboration, the first of a new series with a theme of mutual friendship, it offers some vital lessons to young audiences. Ian Brown’s terrific talent for story-telling in combination with Eoin Clarke’s comical illustrations make this a read aloud, which despite its chilly setting, leaves a warm feeling within.

Move, Mr Mountain!

Move, Mr Mountain!
Francesca Sanna
Templar Publishing

Mr Mountain has seen and heard much in his long lifetime and now feels that nothing can disturb him. But he’s reckoned without one very determined, angry-looking little girl Lily who stands before him shouting “Can you move, please?” at the top of her voice. She goes on to explain the reason for her rudely delivered request but the somewhat confused Mr Mountain responds by losing his long-held patience and causing a huge thundery rainstorm. This does little if nothing to dampen Lily’s determination to get the massive obstacle to shift its ground and she reissues her order albeit rather more politely.
With mounting temper, Mr Mountain sends forth an icy wind that serves only to add to the girl’s enjoyment of the changing elements, as does the ensuing snow storm.

Seeing that this young miss means business, the exhausted Mr Mountain decides that a different approach is needed. Scooping Lily up in his huge rocky hand, he places her atop his head. Suddenly she finds herself gazing at the most incredible view that’s beyond even her imagination.

Now instead of enmity, girl and mountain share many peaceful hours contemplating the distant sights and dreaming of visiting far away places.

The following day, aided by Mr Mountain, Lily starts learning how to climb, returning day after day to improve her skill until finally she no longer visits her friend.

Missing the girl, Mr Mountain becomes more and more sad, which is reflected in the weather, until many months later he hears a familiar voice calling to him one morning. Joy of joys, Lily has returned

and what wonderful stories and photos of her travels she has to share. Something she continues to do each time she returns from another journey, thus enabling Mr Mountain to see the rest of the world and what it has to offer.

Hugely uplifting (pardon the pun), this story of an unlikely friendship demonstrates the importance of showing consideration for others. Dramatically illustrated by the author, with every spread superbly composed (I absolutely love her gorgeous colour palette), this is another winning book from Francesca Sanna.

Anna and Otis

Anna and Otis
Maisie Paradise Shearring
Two Hoots

Imagine befriending a snake. Not keen probably, but snake, Otis is the unlikely best friend of young Anna and the two spend happy, adventurous days together safe in the confines of the garden.

One day though, Anna announces to Otis that tomorrow they ought to go exploring the town, a suggestion that leaves Otis lost for words. After all neighbours and delivery people tended to tread very cautiously when they spied the reptile, so an entire town, Hmmm!

Nevertheless, next day, Anna having attempted to allay Otis’ concerns, the two sally forth.

Anna’s words however are very soon proved wrong: seemingly everyone in the town gives the impression of being as she’d put it earlier, ‘very silly mean’ people.

Inevitably, Otis is sad; Anna angry, though she tries to be reassuring. Bravery and direct approaches are her suggestions, first stop being Silvio’s hairdressing salon. The visit proves a success and word starts to spread.

Emboldened Anna purchases a skateboard for herself and a set of wheels for Otis.

Pretty soon, people at the skate-park are impressed at his wheelie prowess; the bush telegraph springs into action again and come lunch time it’s more of a party than a meal for two.

By the time the day’s over the friends are very tired. Anna invites Otis to spend the night and thereafter the friendship continues apace, sometimes just the two of them but on other days it’s a trip into town to visit all their wonderful new and very welcoming pals.

In her funny tale of overcoming fears and gaining acceptance, with gently humorous illustrations full of wonderful details to delight and linger over, the author portrays an unusual friendship that should, if not endear readers to Squamata such as Otis, at least help overcome their angst about them.

Stuck for more summer reading for your children? Try Toppsta’s Summer Reading Guide