Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Hog in the Fog - A Review

C has just turned 2 and goes through stages with books. Some weeks she won't pick up a book unless asked, other weeks she can't get enough and wants them read and re-read.  The past fortnight it has been the latter.  Book after book, again and again.  I have even got more books out of my hidden stockpile to satisfy her need.  C is currently on the borderline.  She still loves her simple board story books but more and more now she is starting to listen to, and enjoy, longer and more complex stories.

She is not keen on the Gruffalo, it's a bit scary, but loves the Gruffalo's Child and Room on the Broom, as well as the Big Animal Mix Up series (which I will do a post on separately).

It seems perfect timing then, that we were offered a copy of the newly published Hog in the Fog: A Harry & Lil Story by Julia Copus and Eunyoung Seo to review.

Aimed at preschool and young primary school children, I was worried that it might not capture C's imagination or she would lose interest half way through but I couldn't have been more wrong.

The deliciously descriptive verse and clear illustrations had her captivated from the start.  It has a touch of Julia Donaldson about it.  A cross between Toddle Waddle and the Gruffalo.

From my point of view, it was a relief to see that the rhyming verse wasn't at the expense of a good story.  Sometimes I feel too much effort has been put into making the text rhyme and the story has been lost; but not in this case.  It was also nice to see the illustrations were bold and realistic. So often now childrens' books have bizarrely abstract illustrations and it is a personal pet hate of mine!

The book tells the story of Lil the shrew (or a mouse to most young children I expect), her journey to find Harry the Hog (who is lost in the fog), and the characters she meets along the way. The repetition as the story progresses means that children can anticipate the next words even if they are unable to read them.  This is supported by the illustrations, which give clues along the way as to how the story might end.

The slimy afternoon tea, although a little over C's head, will no doubt capture the imagination of  slightly older children, while the illustrations and references to the clock and time provide a hidden educational slant. 

I really was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this well thought out story and look forward to reading it some more.
I can easily see this becoming another childrens' bookshelf staple.

Here is the story in full read by Russell Grant.

Disclaimer: We were given one copy of Hog in the Fog, worth £6.99, from Faber and Faber for the purposes of this review. All opinions are entirely my own.

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