I read this with my six year old granddaughter, Seren, and we gave this 5* (Because we weren’t allowed to give it any more)
The tale of a hog in the fog.
This is the story of Candy Stripe Lil
and Harry the Hog who lived over the hill.
…and a foggy March day, roundabout three,
when Lil had invited Harry for tea.
Lil is expecting Harry the Hog for tea, but there’s a swirling fog outside and Harry is nowhere to be seen.
Lil sets off to find her friend. Luckily she meets Deer, Sheep and Crow along the way, who all join in the hunt to find the hog in the fog.
A heartwarming rhyming adventure story about friendship, teamwork and teatime!
My review: ( Following instructions from Seren who read it with me at weekend)
First, Seren’s opinion
‘I like the clock telling the time when Lil has to wait for Hog.’ (So do I, a clever way of introducing telling the time to a child)
‘Lil has a lovely face.’ (In fact all the animals have ‘lovely faces’)
‘I like the horns on the deer.’ (the antlers on the deer are decorated with flowers and butterflies, the sheep has a blue bow around her neck, the crow a red hat, Lil a striped bonnet – charming little details)
‘They all see bits of Hog, don’t they?’ (They do; on each of their pages, the sheep sees the back of Hog, the deer sees his ears, the crow sees his tale. – the repetition of the three animals/ the three images they each see, is very clever)
‘I like the sounds they make.’ ( ” Pittery Pattery, tippety tappety , munch crunch, tac tac tac, qwaa-aak…” (What’s not to like? Funny, sounds to read aloud again and again)
‘I like they found him, I was getting a bit worried.’ (Ah, a happy ending… just right)
‘And I like the funny food they have for tea.’ (Yep, she would!!… “…chocolate- chip beetles, slug- flavoured chip, dragonflies tongues, frothy muck- shake and cuttlefish cake.” Say no more!)
Picture story books are very close to poetry in many ways. One of the most important things is that they both are intended to be read aloud. So fluency is essential. If the format is meant to be regular in rhythm, then each line must have the same amount of syllables. Rhyming is necessary, whether slant/ near rhymes, sight rhymes or exact rhymes. Hog in the Fog has all these qualities.
Turning the pages to see what happens next seems to be important for children in picture story books. So, often there are connecting or repeating words or phrases “And/But /So.” Or sometimes those three little dots – the ellipses. Hog in the Fog does this kind of connection of each page in spades.
And last but certainly not least… the illustrations. These are amongst the best I’ve seen in a picture book. (and I’ve been reading picture story books for a loooooong time) I’d go so far as the say they are exquisite drawings.
But obviously the last word goes to Seren. Before she left I had a warning. ‘Please don’t use big posh words, Nanna, just say I liked it… for a young little girl or boy.’ Okay. She liked it… and so did I.
I thoroughly recommend Hog in the Fog.
Faber and Faber: http://bit.ly/2aVp8m6