Hog in the Fog
Julia Copus and Eunyoung Seo
Faber & Faber pbk
Shrew, Lil has invited Harry the Hog for tea at three:
‘There were chocolate-chip beetles and slug-flavoured chips
and warm jellied maggots with fruit-flavoured dips;’
and all manner of other goodies already on the table.
Three o’clock comes, then a quarter past; Lil looks anxiously out at the gathering gloom. By four she can wait no longer so donning her raincoat she sets out,
‘Pittery pattery, tippety tappety’ up the hill in search of Harry.
First she encounters a sheep, but the sheep’s not seen a hog, just a hedge so she thinks, ”where no hedge was before.”
She offers to help Lil search though and off they go together. The deer they meet has seen, he thinks, only “The wings of a bat … pinkish and flat.” But he’ll help look for the missing hog; so too will the crow who has seen naught but a sleeping snake on a log.
Into the woods go the four as the swirling fog gets ever thicker until, around the next corner …
What’s that THING. The bush? The bat? The snake?
By now, young listeners will be unable to resist shouting the identity of the large hairy, ‘bog-soaked, mud-smeared’ creature that, after a whole lot of pulling and pushing, eventually comes slippily, slurpily, gluggily, gurgly from the muck. And guess what; he’s absolutely starving.
Good job that at her house, as Lil says, “it stays TEA o’clock for a very long while.” Tuck in everyone!
Delicious, delectable and such enormous fun to read aloud. The rhyming text just trips, like those loving prepared treats of Lils, right off the tongue.
Equally praiseworthy are the wonderfully expressive watercolour illustrations, which capture the drama and the gentle humour to perfection making every turn of the page a treat too. Particularly gorgeous and an unexpected delight are deer’s fantastical , butterfly-attracting, flower-wrapped antlers.
Billed as ‘A Harry & Lil story’ I hope this indicates more to come from the charmingly unlikely wild boar/shrew duo.
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The Great Race
Nathan Kumar Scott and Jagdish Chitara
In the third of the series of folk tales featuring trickster, Kanchil we find the boastful mouse deer proclaiming himself to be ‘the fastest animal in the forest’ and challenging the other animals to THE GREAT RACE OF THE JUNGLE. Having called upon the help of scarlet macaw, Kakatua to spread the word thoughout the forest, Kanchil waits by the riverbank to see who takes up his challenge.
Soon, every animal appears but none save one tiny voice speaks; the voice is that of Pelan the snail. Laughable, thinks Kanchil on discovering the only contestant is to be a tiny snail; his laughter is echoed by the other animals but none steps forth other than tiger Harimau with an offer to act as referee and Gajah the elephant, the finishing judge.
The race begins, off zooms Kanchil, only to reach the finish in – shock horror – second place.
A second race is called by Kanchil, against the river flow this time, but again Pelan gets there first.
How did a slow snail beat a fast deer? Have you guessed? Suffice it to say that the over-confident Kanchil is outwitted by a guileful Gastropod (or two).
This amusing story (a kind of Hare and the Tortoise tale) is Nathan Kumar Scott’s retelling of an Indonesian folk tale brilliantly brought to life by Gujarati, Waghari artist, Jagdish Chitara. Jagdish used the same ancient artistic techniques and traditional blood red, brilliant white and black colours to portray the animals in this secular book as are used for the special ritual cloths for the Mother Goddess, called Mata Ni Pachedi (the cloth of the mother) traditionally used as temple hangings.
Another stellar book from the Indian publishing house that specializes in books illustrated by highly talented Indian artists.
Look out soon for quality paperback editions of some of Tara’s backlist to be available shortly.
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Dylan’s Amazing Dinosaurs: The Tyrannosaurus Rex
E.T.Harper and Dan Taylor
Simon and Schuster pbk
In Dylan’s incredible tree house he keeps important things; things like Wings, his toy pterodactyl and Grandpa Fossil’s Dinosaur Journal. Opening the latter brings the former to life and he becomes the vehicle for Dylan’s journeys of discovery.
We join Dylan as he and Wings set off to discover the number of teeth the T.Rex had. Their search for the answer results in a face-to-face encounter with the enormous creature itself – WOW! Those gnashers.
Quick Dylan, find something for it to sink those teeth into and flee for your life …
So does our young hero escape and does he discover the answer to his dinosaur dentition question?
Take a look at that log…
then turn to Dylan’s T.Rex fact file and find his latest numerical entry.
With its ever popular topic, some delicious alliterative sound bites, fascinating, embedded facts (the author is herself a palaeontology professor), boldly rendered action scenes and a removable pop out T.Rex, this, the first Dylan adventure, is bound to be popular with young children particularly budding palaeontologists.
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