It was night in the village – a still, dark night –
and Harry the Hog was sleeping tight.
In her house at the foot of Piggyback Hill,
also asleep, was Candy Stripe Lil.
The second Harry and Lil story from acclaimed Faber poet Julia Copus, who has recently turned her hand to picture books for the first time! The tale of a hog – and his friend Candy Stripe Lil – kept awake by mysterious noises in the night is sure to delight adults and children alike.
I reviewed the first Harry & Lil of this series with my granddaughter, Seren, a wise six year old. Being without my fellow reviewer I need to look at this lovely picture story book with adult eyes and hope that, when she next visit she agrees with what I write. I’m fairly sure I’m on the right track as we did read it just before she left
I can really only reiterate much of my comments that I made in our review of Hog in the Fog: A Harry & Lil Story: http://bit.ly/2bAVZS9
But I do need to add how much we enjoyed the way the illustrations are often set out in descending order on the page with small rhyming phrases. For example, just before Harry goes to sleep he does his exercises “two hog-jumps, three sit-ups, four blinks of the eye”
In fact the way the words and the illustration work together, placed on the pages, is perfect as far as Seren and I were concerned.
This is a story that combines the questions that Harry and Lil explore when kept awake by mysterious noises in the night, yet hints at the answers throughout – right up to the brilliant end.
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. The Hog, the Shrew and the Hullabaloo 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. Like Hog in the Fog, The Hog, the Shrew and the Hullabaloo 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.
Seren has just phoned and I’ve read this review out to her. She’s in full agreement with me but has asked me to reiterate that she is six and she recommends The Hog, the Shrew and the Hullabaloo for younger children, not her age group. I didn’t say anything but I think this series of “Harry & Lil ” stories are a joy for anyone of any age to read!